03/30/2009 - CONTACT: Melissa Stradnick - 717-534-8945
(HERSHEY, PA) — Dean Arsene has been named the BEARS winner of the American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions to the community during the 2008-09 season.
It's no secret around town that Dean is known as the "Mayor of Hershey", which is a title he greatly deserves. Dean's presence both on and off the ice is constantly felt throughout the community. During the 2008-09 season Dean has made more than 30 community appearances; 18 of which have been to elementary schools in regards to his involvement with the Bears Cares Reading Program.
With Dean's leadership the program was constructed and came to fruition in 2006 and has been growing ever since. This year the program has visited 12 schools reaching more than 2,500 kids! It's based on reading initiative, reaching out with Bears players to kids in the community, and providing positive role models in the classroom.
The key to the successful program is player involvement and community assistance. The players read to kids in second grade and stress the importance of telling the truth, being a good citizen and many other important character lessons. Dean has also recruited his fellow teammates to attend with him, serving as the driving force between the locker room and the classroom.
In addition to the reading program Dean and a fellow teammate participated in two raffles this season that allowed them to prepare dinner in the winners' homes. Originally, only one raffle was scheduled, but once Dean found out what a great response there was he immediately suggested doing another one. The players went to the winners' houses and prepared the meals for them from appetizers to desserts. All the money raised through the raffle was donated to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. According to the Food Bank, for every $1.00 that is donated, $15.00 worth of food can be made available for needy families. The raffles raised more than $6,500, which results in $97,500 worth of food the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank can use!
If Dean isn't on the ice, fans can expect to hear him on the local radio stations or visiting with the children at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Dean never balks or questions any appearances that are asked of him. His willingness to go above and beyond speaks volumes of him both on and off the ice. Dean is the shining example of what it means to be a leader.
In recognition of his efforts, Arsene will be presented with an etched crystal trophy during an upcoming game. He is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL's 2008-09 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former 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 in the coming weeks.