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April 11, 2013

John Kurtz Named Norfolk Admirals 2012-13 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man Of The Year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Norfolk Admirals are proud to announce that John Kurtz has been named the team's winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Hampton Roads community during the 2012-13 season.

Kurtz has been an advocate for several worthwhile organizations this season. One of these organizations was Susan G. Komen for the Cure through the Admirals' annual Pink in the Rink Game. Kurtz volunteered to be the Admirals spokesman, waking up to do early media appearances before practice and encouraging his teammate to tape their sticks pink for our annual Pink in the Rink game. He also visited with local children of the EXET organization, an after school program which has a strong anti-bullying campaign. His use of his personal social media encouraged fans to donate stuffed bears in the wake of the Newtown, CT, shootings to be donated to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Coming from a family where his mom works with children with disabilities, there is a special place in Kurtz's heart for these children. He has, numerous times, skated with children of the Autism Society and visited children with special needs at local schools. He also visited St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children and enjoyed a game of soccer with the kids.

Kurtz has also found the time to spearhead a fundraising campaign on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. Kurtz's father was diagnosed with MS when John was growing up. Kurtz donates $25 to the local chapter of the MS Society for every Norfolk win.

The native of Oakville, Ont., was also the face of MS Awareness Night on March 1. As of April 1, Kurtz, through the help of current and former teammates, fans and social media, has helped to personally raise over $6,600 for the local MS Society of Hampton Roads. He has been quoted as saying this event was “the proudest moment in life.” Kurtz hopes the funds will be used to support families like his who have been affected by the debilitating disease.

Kurtz has also worked very closely with fans to form teams to participate in the MS Society walk coming up later this spring. Calling themselves the KurtzyClan, our fans have rallied behind John and started selling bracelets with the phrase #HateToLose to raise money for MS Society. John himself wears the bracelet during every game, where he likes to “punch out” MS with every fight he finds himself in.

Kurtz's popularity in the community also went to good use earlier this month, as he participated in Celebrity Night for Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads (PCAHR). John was one of the celebrity servers at a local restaurant, bringing awareness and raising money for PCAHR, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization of concerned citizens committed to the prevention of child abuse in all its forms.

Even when traveling on the road, Kurtz finds time to help out. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Admirals traveled to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in November. The day before the game, Kurtz joined some Bridgeport players on his off day and handed out food at local shelters.

Kurtz is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2012-13 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League on Apr. 18.

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