Blue Devils’ Rivera nominated for HH award

OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz Pictured above, Fredonia State’s Luke Rivera looks for a pass in a hockey game earlier this season.

Fredonia senior Luke Rivera is the lone repeat nominee for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually to college hockey’s finest citizen.

Rivera, one of 17 nominees this year and a 2018 H.H. award finalist, has been the driving force behind his team’s annual Stroke Awareness Game, held this past November for the third straight year.

The inspiration for Rivera’s involvement is his mother, Dana, a stroke survivor of nearly 10 years. Rivera’s grandmother, Arleen Bachner, has helped her grandson, his teammates, and the Fredonia hockey community raise approximately $30,000 in the form of a donation to the Gates Vascular Stroke Center of Buffalo, N.Y. Included in that total is a $500 prize awarded to Rivera by the Hockey Humanitarian Award committee for becoming one of five 2018 finalists.

“It’s been a very personal experience,” Rivera said last spring during the check presentation, surrounded by doctors from the Stroke Center. “My mom suffered a stroke when I was 14 or 15 and it really impacted my family’s life … It just hit me in the heart.”

This year’s finalists will be announced in early February and the winner will be announced at the NCAA Division I Frozen Four in Buffalo on April 12.