April 6, 2012

National STUDENT-Athlete Day Giant Steps Award winners release

ORLANDO, Fla. - Miami University hockey senior goaltender Cody Reichard and his foundation, Swoop’s Stoop, is the winner of the Giant Steps Award in the community organization category, the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) announced Friday. The recognition is part of the NCAS’ annual National STUDENT-Athlete Day, which is celebrating its 25th year today. This year’s Giant Steps Award winners will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the NCAS Banquet in Orlando, Fla.

Giant Steps Awards recognize individual student-athletes, professional athletes, civic leaders, coaches, community organizations and other individuals who exemplify the ideals of balancing academics, athletics, life pursuits and giving back to the community through the spirit of athletics. Chosen by a national selection committee from hundreds of nominations received nationwide, these individuals exemplify the meaning of National STUDENT-Athlete Day. Reichard was named one of three finalists for the award in March.

In 2010, Reichard (Celina, Ohio) founded Swoop’s Stoop, a program whose mission is to provide life-enriching experiences to area kids facing life-changing illnesses. The program works by bringing a sick child from Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital to a Miami home hockey game, where they and their family receive game tickets, a t-shirt, a bracelet and free food and drink. The child is also recognized during the game. In addition, Reichard, Swoop (Miami’s RedHawk mascot) and several Miami teammates visit Children’s Hospital at least once a month to play and interact with sick children. The senior netminder also brings posters and towels for the children that are signed by players.

This year, Reichard successfully brought a corporate sponsor (Step Resources) into the mix, has received generous support from Miami’s Red & White Club and has raised more than $16,000 to further help the Swoop’s Stoop cause, which went toward having Swoop’s Stoop blankets made for the children at the hospital. He also hopes to eventually help offset some medical costs for the children’s families and build a new play room for the hospital.

Reichard painted his goalie mask this year to help promote Swoop’s Stoop and the mask will be auctioned off beginning April 15 on www.MURedHawks.com to raise money for the program. Miami also wore special Swoop’s Stoop jerseys on Feb. 11 against Alabama-Huntsville, which were auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting Swoop’s Stoop. Roughly $6,300 was raised on the jersey auction. Reichard has started working on getting other Miami teams involved as well so the program continues for years to come.

In addition to Swoop’s Stoop, Reichard is in his second year serving on Miami’s RedHawk Council, which is Miami’s student-athlete leadership group. He is also involved in several team philanthropies, such as the annual Therapeutic Disabilities Skate, where players help those in Butler County with disabilities skate on Miami's ice rink. He has also participated in Rico's Ristorante, where players serve dinner to the community.

Reichard has received recognition from several other groups for his work with Swoop’s Stoop, as well. He won the CCHA’s Ilitch Humanitarian Award, given to the league’s top citizen, and was named to the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Second-Team All-America. He is also a finalist for the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award (one of five) and the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup (one of five). The winner of the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given to the top citizen in all of college hockey, will be announced tonight as part of the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. The winner of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, presented to two distinguished athletes -- one collegiate and one professional -- for their character and leadership both on and off the field and their contributions to sport and society, will be announced at a banquet April 25 in Atlanta, Ga.

National STUDENT-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by the NCAS and Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. National STUDENT-Athlete Day is one of America’s strongest endeavors to increase the positive virtues of sport and the recognition of student-athletes nationwide. It has gone from recognizing a small number of outstanding student-athletes in 1987 to honoring over 3.1 million since 1997. National STUDENT-Athlete Day has also become an opportunity to honor the parents, teachers, coaches and administrators who have made it possible for student-athletes to succeed in all realms of their lives and who use sport as a vehicle to make positive social changes throughout the world.

The mission of the NCAS is to use the power of sport to effect positive social change. We educate and empower individuals and organizations by inspiring values-based thinking leading to actions that promote social responsibility and equality.

Reichard is one of the most decorated netminders in Miami history as he compiled a career GAA of 2.10, which ranks third in school history, as does his .912 career save percentage. His 53 career wins are also third in program history while his 92 career games played rank fifth and his 1,894 saves are ninth on Miami’s career charts. He pitched 12 career shutouts as well, which ties for second in school history. As a sophomore in 2010, Reichard was named CCHA Player of the Year, Second-Team All-America, First-Team All-CCHA and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist. He was also in net for Miami’s first Mason Cup title in 2011 and the program’s first NCAA championship game in 2009.

Following his senior season, Reichard signed an amateur tryout contract with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League) on April 2. The Thunder is an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks and is in the midst of a best-of-five ECHL Playoff series.