Dan Colleran | January 28, 2017
Junior forward Anders Bjork has been named one of 15 nominees for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s finest citizen.
Heading into this weekend’s series with New Hampshire, Bjork has 35 points on 15 goals and 20 assists in 23 games this season. His 35 points rank third in Hockey East and are tied for fifth in the country, while his five game-winning goals are tied for the NCAA lead. He is averaging 1.52 points-per game, which ranks third in Hockey East and eighth in the country.
But Bjork’s efforts off the ice have made even more of a difference, especially just a few blocks south of campus at the Perley Fine Arts Academy in South Bend.
Perley teacher Courtney Baranay explains exactly why "Mr. B" has become a treasured figure not just in her third grade classroom but throughout the school:
Anders has helped mediate disagreements between the kids, taught them how to let things roll off their backs and not be so quick to judge. He will draw with the girls in the room (I have 16 this year) and sit and play Legos with all the boys (only seven this year). He will answer any question they have, he lets them wear his hat, he plays games with them at recess--and he has even gotten in trouble right along with the rest of the class for not paying attention to the gym teacher (you might not want to mention this either, I don't think my principal knows about this).
This is only a fraction of the "things" Anders has done with and for these children. The most important thing this man has done for these children is to keep coming back. I have taught in inner-city schools for 10 years. I have had hundreds of people come through my classroom doors--volunteers, students doing field experiences and a few student teachers. They were all wonderful (some more than others).
But these children are used to people coming in and out of their lives. Volunteers stay for three or four months, coming once a week, and then their time is over. Field experience students usually come for 30 hours, and then they are off to another assignment. But Anders keeps coming back. It doesn't matter if he only has 30 minutes to spare, he always comes back.