Note: This is the third of four major FSU Athletics Awards that will be presented this week for the 2013-14 campaign. The final award, the Dean Davenport "Bulldog Of The Year" Award, will be announced on Saturday.
Big Rapids, Mich. - Defenseman Simon Denis (Burnaby, British Columbia) of the Ferris State University men's ice hockey program has been chosen as this year's recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's Willie Bouyer Leadership Award for the 2013-14 campaign in an announcement made today.
The Willie Bouyer Leadership Award, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious of the FSU Athletics Department's four annual major honors, is named in memory of Ferris State's first All-America football student-athlete Willie Bouyer. Bouyer was tragically killed in his hometown of Detroit in 1977. The recipient is chosen by a FSU Athletics Department committee.
Candidates for the award are judged on their strong inspirational leadership and dedication to fellow Ferris State student-athletes. The nominees also should be involved outside of athletics in other college and community activities along with participating on a varsity athletics team for at least two years. The Willie Bouyer Leadership Award was reinstated upon the conclusion of the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence.
"It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been around him that a person like Simon Denis would be chosen to receive this award," said FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. "He's been a valuable leader and contributor to Bulldog Hockey and Ferris State Athletics both on and off the ice for the last three seasons.
"This past year, he battled adversity with a season-ending injury, but remained a key part in the Bulldogs' championship run. He's a tremendous choice as the recipient of the Willie Bouyer Leadership Award and we thank him for his efforts," he added.
This past season, as a junior in 2013-14, Denis played in six games for the Bulldogs before suffering a major season-ending injury in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) league road contest at Alabama-Huntsville. However, he remained an integral part of the program off the ice as FSU went on to capture the WCHA's MacNaughton Cup as regular-season champions in their debut season and eventually reached the NCAA Elite Eight.
Prior to his injury, Denis had appeared in 73 games over three seasons for the Bulldogs, recording 30 points on five goals and 25 assists. He tallied 13 points as a freshman in 2011-12 as Ferris State won the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular-season crown and made the school's first appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four where the Bulldogs reached the national title game. Denis then tallied a personal career-high 17 points on four goals and 13 helpers in 37 outings during the 2012-13 season.
For his career, the three-year letterwinner currently holds a +6 plus/minus efficiency rating and has 69 blocks to date. He also received the opportunity last summer to participate in a scrimmage contest at the Detroit Red Wings' NHL Development Camp in Traverse City. Before arriving at Ferris State, he played junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Tri-City Storm after two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with the Burnaby Express.
In addition to his impressive credentials on the ice, Denis has also been one of the Bulldogs' most active participants off the ice. Besides annually assisting with a number of the team's community service endeavors, he's also worked the last two summers assisting the Ferris State Athletics department's marketing and sales efforts. He spearheaded the Bulldogs' annual involvement with the area special olympics hockey team and was a driving force and creative mind behind the school's first-ever "Pink In The Rink" game last fall that benefited the Susan P. Wheatlake Wellness Center and raised support for breast cancer awareness. His efforts for the unique game included working on corporate sponsorship, marketing and promotions for the event.
Denis has also been the team's principal representative on the Ferris State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and is active on campus in the sports communication program.
"We're proud of all Simon has accomplished both on and off the ice and thrilled he's been chosen to receive this honor," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. "There are annually a number of outstanding student-athletes at Ferris State who are worthy candidates to receive this award so it is a tremendous honor for him to be this year's recipient."
Denis is the fourth hockey student-athlete in school history to receive the Willie Bouyer Leadership Award, following in the footsteps of previous honorees Tim Christian (1994-95), Derrick McIver (2003-04) along with Casey Haines (2009-10).
The other 2013-14 finalists for the Willie Bouyer Leadership Award included Dan Chilcote (Men's Basketball), Jace Heneveld (Football) along with Brandie Merren (Volleyball).
Willie Bouyer Leadership Award Recipients
2013-14 – Simon Denis (Men's Ice Hockey)
2012-13 – Samantha Fordyce (Volleyball)
2011-12 – Ashley Huntey (Volleyball)
2010-11 – Matt DeHart (Men's Basketball)
2009-10 – Casey Haines (Men's Ice Hockey) and Kurt Valley (Men's Golf)
2008-09 – Holly Bruntjens (Softball)
2007-08 – Raquel Hansen (Women's Golf) and Katie Kraai (Softball)
2006-07 – Danielle Baucher (Women's Volleyball) and Raquel Hansen (Women's Golf)
2005-06 – Brittny Godlewski (Women's Volleyball) and Jeffrey Shanahan (Men's Basketball)
2004-05 – Brittny Godlewski (Women's Volleyball) and Navreet Gill (Softball)
2003-04 – Melissa Worsley (Softball) and Derrick McIver (Men's Ice Hockey)
2002-03 – Steve Picucci (Mens' Cross Country and Men's Track & Field)
1995-96 – Benny Roe (Football)
1994-95 – Tim Christian (Men's Ice Hockey)
1993-94 – Jere Getzinger (Wrestling and Football)
1992-93 – Dave Morin (Baseball)
1991-92 – Erica Thomas (Women's Basketball)
1990-91 – Mark Kamppinen (Baseball)
1989-90 – Doug Mooney (Wrestling) and Jody Johnson (Softball)
1988-89 – Jim Beson (Football and Wrestling)
1987-88 – Sam Sweet (Men's Track and Field)
1986-87 – Paul Surmont (Cheerleading – Bulldog Mascot)
1985-86 – Kurt Stevens (Men's Basketball)
1984-85 – Steve Piotraczk (Football), Katy Kelley (Women's Basketball)
1980-81 – Fred Kirkland (Football and Men's Track & Field)