Noah Wilson of Army West Point is 2023 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award Winner
Friday, April 7, 2023
Senior forward Noah Wilson (Fond du Lac, WI) of the Army West Point ice hockey team has been named the winner of the 2022-23 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) announced today.
The award was established by the HCA in honor of former Army player Derek Hines, who was a “consummate team player and team builder.” Hines played at Army from 1999-2003 and was a four-year letter-winner as well as a co-captain his senior season. He was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2005 in Afghanistan.
Noah Wilson has been a leader on and off the ice since arriving at West Point in 2019. He served as an alternate captain for the Black Knights this past season, as Derek Hines had. Similar to Hines, Noah was a fan favorite for his ability to interact with and go out of his way to make fans feel special, especially the children who would attend games.
Noah has served as the team’s head Cadet liaison with Team Impact, as local kid Seff Villanueva was welcomed into the Army Hockey family. Noah has hosted Seff and his family at West Point hockey games and practices, along with Army Football and other events around post.
Noah was a standout defenseman for Army, setting a program-record with 84 blocks in a single season during his junior campaign of 2021-22. After Army’s 1-7-1 start to his senior season, Noah selflessly made the switch to forward which allowed a freshman defenseman to play and earn a role. It marked the turning point of the season for Army, who went 5-2-1 in its next eight games to close the first half of the season, eventually earning the fifth-seed in Atlantic Hockey.
“In all of my years coaching at West Point, I’m not sure if anybody has had more similar qualities to Derek than Noah Wilson,” said Army West Point head coach Brian Riley. “These qualities are what made Hinesy so special. I know that just like Derek did, Noah will always represent this program and the Academy in a way that makes us all proud.”
“I feel incredibly proud to be the 2023 Recipient of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award,” said Wilson. “Thank you to the Hockey Commissioners Association and the award selection committee for seeing me as fit to receive this award. To have my name mentioned in the same sentence as 1LT Derek Hines is an incredible honor and one that I do not take lightly. While every college hockey team is rooted in the traditions of their institution, Army Hockey is different in that our traditions are rooted in the history of our country and the great American heroes that have come before us. 1LT Hines is one of those heroes and someone who remains a special part of the Army Hockey Family and the greater West Point community. Being a cadet and hockey player who walks in the footsteps of 1LT Hines makes receiving this award all that more meaningful. I want to especially thank Coach Riley, the entire Army Hockey staff, and all my brothers who I went to battle with over the past four years. Any individual reward is the result of the collective effort of a team and that could not be any truer in this case. Hinesy was and always will be an Army Hockey player, and I am so proud to be able to bring his award back home to West Point.”
Noah will stay with the Army hockey program as its “Athletics Intern” for six months upon graduating. Every program at West Point will keep one exceptional senior to stay with the team as its “AI” to continue representing the program and to mentor incoming freshmen on the team. Derek Hines also served as an AI to the hockey program upon graduation.
During his time as a Cadet, Noah has consistently helped plan and execute the annual Mid-Hudson Valley Regional Special Olympics, held at Shea Stadium on West Point. The event includes more than 900 Special Olympians, 4,000 family members and friends, and 20+ agencies on and off the military installation. Cadet-athletes have little free time at West Point, and Noah has always used his free time to give back to the community and hockey program.
Noah has also played a key role in mentoring kids on and off the ice through Army’s Junior Black Knights hockey program. The JBK’s is a youth hockey team under the Army Hockey umbrella, in which Noah has constantly been involved in increasing interaction between the youth team and the Army hockey team. Noah has been heavily involved in Team IMPACT during his time at Army. Team IMPACT matches children facing serious illness and disability with college sports teams, creating a long-term, life-changing experience and bond for both parties involved.
Wilson is the second Army West Point player and fifth player from the Atlantic Hockey to win the award since its inception. The other Cadet was Chase Podsiad in 2008. The other finalists for this year’s award were junior defenseman Steven Holtz from Michigan, junior forward Louis Jamernik, from North Dakota. senior defenseman Luke Krys from Brown, and junior defenseman Tony Malinowski from Minnesota State.
The HCA coordinates the award, with nominations from each of the six Division I men’s hockey conferences. The selection committee, made up of the six conference media contacts, Lt. Steve Hines, Derek’s father, and Army West Point head coach Brian Riley, vote on the winner “who displays exemplary sportsmanship, is supremely competitive, intelligent and extraordinarily conditioned with an unmatched work ethic.”
|Recipients of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award|
|2007||Dan Shribman, SR, Forward, Dartmouth College|
|2008||Chase Podsiad, SR, Defenseman, Army West Point|
|2009||Mike Phillipich, SR. Forward, U.S. Air Force Academy|
|2010||Jordan Pietrus, SR, Forward, Brown University|
|2011||Kyle Schmidt, SR, Forward, University of Minnesota-Duluth|
|2012||Bobby Farnham, SR, Forward, Brown University|
|2013||Kyle Murphy, SR, Forward, Providence College|
|2014||Brice O’Connor, SR, Defenseman, University of Maine|
|2015||P.J. Musico, SR. Goaltender, Penn State University|
|2016||Matt Vidal, SR. Forward, College of the Holy Cross|
|2017||Aidan Cavallini, SR, Forward, University of Wisconsin|
|2018||Dylan Abood, SR, Defenseman, U.S. Air Force Academy|
|2019||Brendon Kearney, SR, Forward, The Ohio State University|
|2020||Jared Pike, SR, Forward, American International College|
|2021||Josh Kosack, SR, Forward, Union College|
|2022||Jordan Seyfert, SR, Forward, Merrimack College|
|2023||Noah Wilson, SR, Forward, Army West Point|