Princeton senior Leroux wins Hockey Humanitarian Award
Princeton senior and men’s ice hockey goaltender Eric Leroux has won the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an outstanding college hockey player for his or her strong commitment to community, team and academics.
The award was announced April 7 by the Hockey Humanitarian Foundation at a ceremony during the NCAA Frozen Four in Milwaukee. Leroux was one of seven finalists from around the country and is the first winner from Princeton in the award's 11-year history.
An ecology and evolutionary biology major, Leroux is involved in numerous organizations and projects away from the rink and enjoyed his best season on the ice this year.
“Eric is an exceptional human being, and each and every day around him is amazing,” said Guy Gadowsky, head coach of the Princeton men’s ice hockey team. “He is a leader on our team both on and off of the ice and truly epitomizes what the Hockey Humanitarian Award symbolizes.”
In the past two summers, he has interned abroad. Last summer, he spent 10 weeks in Kenya working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development as an HIV counselor and educator, while living in a remote village in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. He educated school children about sexually transmitted infections, specifically AIDS and HIV, and offered support, information and medication to those suffering from the diseases.Leroux also serves as the North American contact person for the Society for Orphans With AIDS Network. He recently proposed a $17,000 grant, which was accepted, for a rural medical clinic in the part of Kenya where he worked last summer.
The previous summer, Leroux spent six weeks in Ecuador working in a community malaria clinic where he shadowed doctors and helped patients. In his spare time, he helped build a rehabilitation facility in the Amazon jungle.
"A lot can be done in this world and a little can go a long way," Leroux said. "Everyone in this world deserves a chance, and circumstance is not a fair way to provide opportunity. I think that it's up to all of us to recognize that everyone deserves the same opportunity: the infants suffering from malnutrition and children who are HIV-infected and dying in Third World countries; and also the person just around the corner in your everyday life. It's up to all of us to make a difference."
Leroux also has participated in several service projects while attending Princeton. He has been a Big Brother for the past two years for a 10-year-old boy, and he is the founder of the Princeton World Health Initiative, which collects and donates unused medical supplies from area hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
Last season Leroux founded a team initiative named PUCK (Providing Underprivileged Communities and Kids), which donates old equipment to youth hockey programs. He also volunteers on the ice with youth goaltenders in the area.
On the ice, Leroux was named first team all-Ivy League this season and broke the Princeton record for best save percentage, while leading the Tigers to wins over four nationally ranked opponents. He also was named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference all-academic team for the third time.
Leroux intends to return to Africa after he graduates to work with a nongovernmental organization before attending medical school.