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Flint's Rico Phillips wins Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award

By MAHA Staff, 06/20/19, 8:45PM EDT


The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association is proud to congratulate Flint's Rico Phillips on winning the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award during the 2019 NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Phillips, a hockey player and referee, formed the Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program to introduce new generations to the sport.

Check out this article on Phillips; an excerpt is below:

Rico Phillips' boss wasn't surprised when the Flint, Michigan, firefighter requested chunks of time off to focus on creating a youth ice hockey program in the economically disadvantaged city.

"In talking with me when he first started doing it, there were times in the summer I would allow him time to just go and work with kids," Flint Fire Department Chief Raymond Barton said of Phillips. "It was something that I knew he was so passionate about and that's the thing -- Rico's one of those guys who when he's really passionate about something, he puts his whole heart into it."

That passion was honored Wednesday when Phillips, who founded the Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program more than a decade ago, received the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award at the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone.

"There's a sense of pride that's overwhelming," Phillips said after receiving the award. "This will put our program on the map in Flint, which is so important because I can't get kids to get involved. This may be the catalyst to get more kids to come out and be a part of this."

Read the full story here

Phillips was one of two finalists representing Michigan; Clark Park's Anthony Benavides was also nominated for the prestigious award. For more on Benavides, click here.

Check out Phillips' acceptance speech at the NHL Awards Show in the video embedded below: