Suburban Chicago hockey player Basil Stamatopoulos lived every hockey fan’s dream when he was recognized by his beloved Blackhawks.
Young Blackhawks fan recognized
Many young hockey fans would give anything to be recognized by their favorite team. This dream came true for Basil Stamatopoulos, 11, who was named BMO Harris‘ October Player of the Month, and presented an award by his beloved Chicago Blackhawks.
BMO Harris Player of the Month
This award is given to a player, who not only embodies academic excellence, dedication to the game of ice hockey, but also demonstrated passion and spirit through commitment to the community.
Over the past eight years, BMO Harris Bank and the Blackhawks have teamed up to honor a youth hockey coach and a youth player each month, for their achievements on the ice as well as in their communities. The winners are nominated on the Blackhawks website — by their teammates, coaches, and others — and judged by an amateur hockey committee. They also honor a volunteer of the month.
October’s Player of the Month
Basil is a straight-A sixth grader at Timothy Christian School in Elmhurst, IL, and attends Pythagoras Greek School. He is an altar boy, and active in the youth groups at The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios in Elmhurst, IL, where his parents grew up, and the entire extended family is actively involved. His grandfather, Tom Angelos, is a Archon of the Order of St. Andrew, and his grandmother, Lena Angelos, has served the community in many capacities, including parish council president, and Philoptochos president.
He plays goalie for the Admirals Hockey Club in Glen Ellyn, part of the Northern Illinois Hockey League. He’s played since he was five years old; he is playing on his first year at the NIHL PeeWee level. Hockey is his passion, and he says, Corey Crawford and Scott Darling are his favorite players. He also said is “a fan of Coach Quenneville and Marian Hossa because they support the R33M – The Ross K. MacNeill Foundation.
Certainly Basil would qualify based on his grades, his performance on the ice, and his involvement in his church community, but what really stood out, is his commitment to a foundation named for one of his teammates, Ross K. MacNeill, who at the age of 11, lost his battle with brain cancer. According to Ross’ doctor, between 3000-4000 children are diagnosed with brain cancer each year.
Related: Video about Ross K.McNeill and the start of the foundation
R33M – The Ross K. MacNeill Foundation was established in 2013, following the boy’s passing, to help out an end to pediatric brain cancer. Basil participated in the organization’s 2014 R33M Winter Tough Tournament, and raised more than $1500 for the research effort. In the 2015 tournament, he raised $3010. At this year’s tourney, Basil surprised the MacNeill Family, wearing a his new helmet, dedicated to Ross. This young goalie can’t wait to get started on the 2016 fundraising drive.
“The best part of this, is that we bring a lot of awareness to R33M,” said Basil.
This great young Hellene was honored on Monday, October 26, 2015, prior to the start of the Blackhawks game. Steve Taylor, Chief Financial Officer of BMO Financial Group, presented the award during the on-ice presentation. Following the presentation, former Blackhawks’ player Jamal Mayers interviewed Basil about this achievement. Watch the video.
There was a Greek theme in this month’s round of honorees.
Nick Panos of Mount Prospect, Ill., who is the PREP (Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Elk Grove, and Palatine) High School varsity and hockey director, was named Coach of the Month.
PHOTOS COURTESY of The Stamatopoulos Family