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Whitehorse athlete nominated for NCAA award

Whitehorse native Adam Henderson captains the University of Alaska Fairbanks men's hockey team, the Nanooks. Last week Henderson was recognized for his work, on and off the ice.

Whitehorse native Adam Henderson captains the University of Alaska Fairbanks men’s hockey team, the Nanooks.

Last week Henderson was recognized for his work, on and off the ice.

The Nanooks captain is one of 20 NCAA Division I male hockey players nominated for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award - Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.

“Being nominated for this award really came out from nowhere,” said Henderson. “I didn’t change the way I acted day to day. Other people felt I was worthy of this nomination. It’s just a great honour to be included in the nominations for the award with the others.”

Nominations for the award are based on excellence shown in four areas: character, competition, community and classroom.

Henderson wouldn’t be the team captain if he didn’t have good character.

“Adam has grown each year, he has been a part of our program and has established himself as a tremendous leader on and off the ice,” said Nanooks head coach Dallas Ferguson in a news release. “As our team captain, Adam leads by example and displays the work ethic and commitment we demand from our student-athletes.”

Henderson, who is in his third year playing centre for the team, has helped the Nanooks to a 6-4-2 record with two goals and three assists so far this season. Last season he was the team’s second-best faceoff taker and is the team’s best so far this season.

“It’s a great group of guys and it’s a great honour ... to have the trust of the members of my team,” said Henderson. “I had to move away (from Whitehorse) when I was 15 to play hockey. So I learned how to get through the tough times and work hard for everything in life. It carried from on the ice to off the ice in my life.”

Last semester, Henderson graduated from his bachelor program in business administration with a 3.87 grade-point average. The 23-year-old is now going for his master’s.

“One of the older guys I used to play with told me your classroom success is directly related to what kind of person you are as an individual and how hard you’re willing to work,” said Henderson. “I take my school seriously because I know I won’t be able to play hockey forever. I just want to make sure when I do make the transition to the real world, I’ll be ready for that.”

Henderson is very busy in the community. In Fairbanks, he volunteers his time with the Ice Puppies minor hockey program, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Bigs For A Day mentoring program. He also gives time to the All Your Heart Foundation, started by a teammate whose father died from a heart attack last year.

“My class schedule is pretty flexible and I just try to get out there as much as I can,” said Henderson. “Our coaches encourage it and it’s a great way to interact with the fans.

“It’s a good feeling and I try to do it as much as I can.”

Henderson began his hockey career with the Whitehorse Mustangs rep club. He then played for Fort St. John in midget AAA for two years before playing two seasons with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In the 2009-10 season, Henderson led the Saints in points with 56 in 56 games and helped the club win the league championships.

Henderson also spent the 2008-9 season playing for Michigan State University.

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

“I’d like to thank my parents for making sure I grew up in a certain way,” said Henderson.

“Everybody has been there for me throughout my life, especially in Whitehorse. Everyone encouraged me in my hockey career, through its ups and downs. It’s a great feeling to have your name put out there like that.”

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