Wideman Named IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year
The Gulls defenseman launched Wideman’s Warriors in October, a charity ticket program benefiting military families in the San Diego region.Apr 6, 2020
The San Diego Gulls are proud to announce Chris Wideman was named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the San Diego community during the 2019-20 season.
The St. Louis, Mo. native launched Wideman’s Warriors in October, a charity ticket program benefitting military families in the San Diego region. Wideman’s Warriors purchased season tickets (four seats) to every Gulls home game in 2019-20 and donated them to families supported by Armed Services YMCA and Wounded Warrior Project. He hosted 112 individuals during the team’s 28 home games while also inviting each family in attendance for a personal meet and greet and photo opportunity in the Gulls locker room following each contest for the defenseman to thank the service member and their families for the sacrifices made for our country.
Wideman has been instrumental in growing the hockey club’s relationship with the local military, with the program also including an online fundraising platform that allowed for family, friends and fans to donate toward his efforts of supporting San Diego’s military community. The online fundraising total of nearly $1,700 will be matched by the San Diego Gulls Foundation and distributed to Armed Services YMCA San Diego and Wounded Warrior Project.
The San Diego defenseman also participated in Armed Services YMCA’s After School Achievement Academy, a no-cost afterschool program tailored to the unique struggles of military children designed to help military kids get back on track in school and at home. The after-school program offers daily after school programming for children in grades K-6, with Wideman and select teammates spending an afternoon providing academic support, working on an activity that worked on sharing feelings and sharing about their experiences playing ice hockey.
Wideman is a consistent presence in the San Diego community and continues to actively seek out new opportunities to enhance the lives of others through local outreach in addition to supporting military families. These endeavors are a small portion of the time that he sets aside outside of hockey to make an impact in the community and give back.
He has also volunteered and participated in a plethora of charitable endeavors this season to raise funds and awareness for programs in San Diego, including the hockey club’s night at Rady’s Rink to spend time skating with VIP’s (Very Important Patients) from Peckham Cancer Center at Rady Children’s Hospital and at the Junior Seau Foundation’s Shop With a Jock where he helped a child from the Boys and Girls Club pick out and purchase holiday gifts for his family.
Wideman is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.