OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Miami University senior defenseman Steven Spinell has been tabbed one of just 10 finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in Division I collegiate hockey, Premier Sports Management announced Wednesday. The prestigious 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.

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 137 career games, including all 41 last year and 28 so far this season, missing two to injury. The bruising blueliner has totaled 30 points in his career, including 27 assists, with seven coming this year, while compiling a +59 rating (+12 this year). He has blocked 162 shots in his four-year career, including 70 last year and is third on the team with 46 so far this season. He earned Three Rivers Classic All-Tournament Team honors earlier this year and was named CCHA Defenseman of the Week once last year. He has played on a penalty kill unit ranked in the top 10 nationally in each of his four seasons 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, 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 and will graduate in the spring. He has been involved in the community as well during his time at Miami, taking part in several projects along with his teammates. This year he has participated in Miami's annual Therapeutic Disabilities Skate with the disabled, as well as Rico's Ristorante, where players served dinner to the community, among other team community service projects. Last year, he participated in Swoop's Stoop, a program created by classmate Cody Reichard, by visiting and playing with sick children at Cincinnati's Children's' Hospital.

Miami has now had a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award each of the last three years, as Reichard and Carter Camper were finalists for the honor in the last two years with Reichard doing so in 2011-12 and Camper in 2010-11. Spinell is one of just three CCHA players named a finalist along with Western Michigan's Brett Beebe and Ferris State's Kyle Bonis.

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.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in November. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 25. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four® in Pittsburgh on April 12.

For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.

Senior CLASS Award Finalists
Brett Beebe, Western Michigan
Danny Biega, Harvard
Kyle Bonis, Ferris State
Stephen Carew, Air Force
Alex Gerke, Connecticut
Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State
Brendan Jamison, Robert Morris
Brandon Nunn, Holy Cross
Cheyne Rocha, Army
Steven Spinell, Miami (Ohio)

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 manages the award. 

--MURedHawks.com--