Kurtis Gabriel Named Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2019-20 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man Of The Year

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtis Gabriel, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtis Gabriel, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The first year Phantoms forward won the team’s award for his contributions to the Lehigh Valley community.

Kurtis Gabriel is in his first season with the Phantoms and already plays a huge role both on the ice and off. He is most known for being the only player to wear pride tape on his stick during the entire season. Gabriel has been an advocate for the You Can Play Project and is the team’s player ambassador.

Gabriel has been using the pride tape since February 2019. It’s a small gesture but has clearly meant so much to him and others that have taken notice.

“So basically it happened organically and I didn’t really think too much of it,” Gabriel said. “And it ended up making a lot of people feel really included in the game and that’s a great thing.”

It’s not the only cause Gabriel has been a part of this season. He also volunteered to serve as an assistant coach for the Phantoms Charities Youth Sled Hockey team.  That included attending each practice and helping in any way that he could. Whether it was helping to push the kids on sleds or working with children who had mobility issues.

And according to the Phantoms, Gabriel has played a huge role in all of their community events. He has volunteered at a local animal shelter, visited schools and hospitals and given tours of locker rooms to children battling pediatric cancer. The list goes on and on after that.

He is now one of the league’s 31 finalists for the Yanick Dupre Memorial award. The award honors the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.

Previous winners of the Phantoms Man of the Year award have been Alex Lyon (2018-19) and Daniel Martel (2016-17 & 2017-18).