Student is finalist for hockey humanitarian award
Princeton NJ — University senior and men’s ice hockey goaltender Eric Leroux has been named one of seven finalists for the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award. The award annually recognizes an outstanding college hockey player, male or female, who shows a strong commitment to community, team and academics.
Eric Leroux, a finalist for the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award, spent last summer in Kenya educating children about AIDS and HIV. (Courtesy of Eric Leroux)
The recipient of the award will be announced on April 7 by the Hockey Humanitarian Foundation at a ceremony during the NCAA Frozen Four in Milwaukee, Wis.
An ecology and evolutionary biology major, Leroux, who is enjoying his best season on the ice for Princeton, is involved in countless organizations and projects away from the rink.
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.
“The freedom to pursue one’s ambitions is a liberty that is easily taken for granted,” said Leroux. “For millions of people around the world and within the United States, the conditions of life or disease impose limits that are sometimes so restricting that they can suffocate hope. Wherever possible, I hope to help people have the option of chasing their dreams or of living long enough to see their children graduate secondary school.”
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.
Leroux intends to return to Africa after he graduates to work with a nongovernmental organization before attending medical school.
“Eric is a great example of a student athlete,” said Guy Gadowsky, the head coach of Princeton men’s ice hockey team. “He is not only committed to developing himself to the highest level academically and athletically, he is committed to making the world a better place. We are very proud to have someone of Eric’s character in our program, and very fortunate to benefit from his example.”