Liam O’Brien’s journey to the Hershey Bears started with a free-agent invite to the Washington Capitals’ camp. The then-young kid impressed some people in the organization and ended up making the opening night roster. Like most players starting their hockey career, he needed a little more development and wound up in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.
I can remember when he was first sent down, thinking, “Who is this punk kid wagging his tongue at John Scott?” But I quickly learned to embrace his grit and his unrelenting commitment to his teammates. Well, as it turns out, O’Brien also has an unrelenting commitment to the hockey community he calls home for most of the year.
The Chocolatetown favorite was just named the Hershey Bears’ nominee for the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. Basically, what that long title means is that Liam is giving back, and in a big way. Check out the list of community events he’s helped with:
- Visiting with patients and families at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
- Participating in the “Roaring to Read” reading program at local elementary schools.
- Delivering teddy bears at the Ronald McDonald House from the annual Hershey Bears Teddy Bear Toss event.
- Honoring our active military and veterans at Fort Indiantown Gap, USO.
- Spending time with patients at American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge as they endure cancer treatments.
- Serving as instructor for the American Special Hockey Association event with the Hershey Bears.
Wearing the Chocolate and White means representing the oldest franchise in the AHL. There is a longstanding, unspoken tradition that players work to keep the hockey legacy alive, all while giving back to the town’s die-hard community of fans. O’Brien seems to epitomize this tradition both on and off the ice, making him the perfect candidate for the Hershey Bears’ AHL Man of the Year.
Read more on O’Brien’s honor in the Hershey Bears’ release.
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By Tori Hartman