OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Miami University senior defenseman Steven Spinell has been selected one of 20 candidates from Division I schools for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award for ice hockey, Premier Sports Management has announced. The award is given annually to one senior student-athlete in several NCAA-sponsored sports and recognizes someone who has had notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. 

Spinell (Vernon Hills, Ill.) has been a leader for Miami on and off the ice throughout his career. The 2012-13 team captain has played in 121 career games, including all 41 last year and all 12 so far this season. The bruising blueliner has totaled 25 points in his career, including 22 assists, while compiling a +52 rating. He has blocked 140 shots in his four-year career, including 70 last year and is second on the team with 24 so far this season. He was named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week once last year and has played on a penalty kill unit ranked in the top 10 nationally each of his first three years at Miami.

In addition to his on-ice contributions, Spinell has shown great leadership and courage during his time at Miami. Even prior to being named captain, he was making sure players were attending off-season workouts and took on a leadership role without being asked. He helped Miami create a video for the You Can Play Project (http://youcanplayproject.org/), which supports LGBT athletes and says they have just as much right to play sports as anyone. He has also played a leadership role in the Jr. Brotherhood program, which pits Miami's hockey team with a local youth team and helps teach them skills such as leadership and responsibility.

Spinell carries a 3.26 grade-point average while majoring in finance in Miami's prestigious Farmer School of Business. He has been involved in the community as well during his time at Miami, taking part in several projects along with his teammates. Last year, he participated in Swoop's Stoop, a program created by classmate Cody Reichard, by visiting and playing with sick children in the hospital in Cincinnati. He has also taken part in Miami's annual Therapeutic Disabilities Skate with the disabled among other team community service projects.

Spinell is one of just five CCHA players up for the award and one of 10 defensemen on the list. Reichard and Carter Camper have each been named finalists for the honor in the last two years with Reichard doing so in 2011-12 and Camper in 2010-11.

The candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will then be announced as part of the NCAA's Frozen Four weekend in Pittsburgh, Pa. on April 12.

Ice Hockey Senior CLASS Award Candidates
Nick Bailen, RPI
Brett Beebe, Western Michigan
Danny Biega, Harvard
Kyle Bonis, Ferris State
Stephen Carew, Air Force
Nick D'Agostino, Cornell
Kyle Flanagan, St. Lawrence
Alex Gerke, Connecticut
Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State
Connor Hardowa, New Hampshire
Seth Helgeson, Minnesota
Adam Henderson, Alaska
Brendan Jamison, Robert Morris
Mike Johnson, Notre Dame
Dan Koudys, Bentley
Ryan Little, Wisconsin
Mark Nemec, Maine
Brandon Nunn, Holy Cross
Cheyne Rocha, Army
Steven Spinell, Miami

ABOUT THE AWARD
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management owns and manages the award. Visit www.SeniorCLASSAward.com for more information.

--MURedHawks.com--