In January, the Hockey Humanitarian Foundation selected 13 of the nation’s men’s and women’s college hockey players as first-round finalists for the 2007 Hockey Humanitarian Award for their outstanding commitment to their sport and community. Now, only five nominees remain for the award, an annual honor given to college hockey’s finest citizen, and Ohio State’s Jody Heywood is one of them.
Selected from a national pool of men’s and women’s college hockey players for the 11th annual Hockey Humanitarian Award, Heywood’s commitments to Ohio State academics and athletics does not limit her ability to help the Columbus community.
“I feel like it rounds out my life,” Heywood said. “It helps me to put things in perspective. When my life is consumed by hockey and school, volunteering helps bring me back to see the big picture.”
While the junior forward is busy on the ice becoming only the third Buckeye in school history to record multiple shorthanded goals, Heywood is also setting the standard off the ice.
The Regina, Saskatchewan, native routinely visits Columbus Children’s Hospital at least once a quarter and participated in fundraising opportunities like the Hurricane Katrina Phone-a-thon to raise funds for victims, as well as, the Schott-a-Thon, a Wish for Kids event. Yet, Heywood’s favorite thing to do is speak to the community’s youth.
“I remember being really impacted by female athletes and role models when I was young,” Heywood said. “I recognize how much people can influence other people. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be in a position to do that after it was done for me, so whenever there’s an opportunity I love to jump at it.”
Heywood has done just that. The two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete has spoken for church youth groups, inner city school children and at the Westerville Girl Power Day. In addition, she works with the athletes in action leadership team and serves meals to the needy at the local YMCA. While scoring points for the Buckeyes on the ice, Heywood also contributes her talents to the community. For Heywood, the work on and off the ice is a privilege because it gives her the opportunity to be like the role models she looked up to as a youth.
Heywood’s dedication to athletics, academics and her community has distinguished her from her peers. Whether or not she receives the award, being able to affect the lives of others in a positive way is satisfying enough for Heywood.
The 11th recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award will be selected from the five finalists and named at the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four.