SCHENECTADY — With all the work he did with Kozi’s Kids last year while the Union men’s hockey season was on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, Josh Kosack admitted that he was sad that he didn’t win the Hockey Humanitarian Award. That only inspired him to do more.
On Friday, Kosack was named the winner of the Hockey Humanitarian Award. He became the first Union men’s or women’s hockey player to capture the honor. Kosack is the first ECAC Hockey player, man or woman, to win the award since Colagte’s Ethan Cox in 2010.
Kosack helped raise $45,000 for improvements to the COCOA House in Schenectady. The improvements include a room that will be for entrepreneurship-based activities with access to resources and mentors in the business industry, and another room that will be more of a lounge area for teens to hang out.
Last year, Kosack raised over $5,240 for Christmas presents for kids in Schenectady, Albany and Troy.
“Going through the process last year, I was a little disappointed I didn’t win last year,” Kosack said. “But it was just more of an emphasis on doing more in the community and really helping out the COCOA [House] kids any way that I could.”
Kosack gave credit to COCOA House executive director Will Rivas for inspiring him.
“I thank my family, but I think the true award goes to Will for all the work he’s done in the community,” Kosack said. “He’s a superhero. Without him, none of this would be possible. And he does everything very out of the kindness of his heart, so I give all the credit to Will and I’m very fortunate that we’ve been able to build a pretty special friendship over the years.”
Rivas praised the work Kosack has done.
“For the last 2 1/2 to three years, Josh has put in an incredible amount of work in the community in Schenectady, working with kids who come from underprivileged homes,” Rivas said. “Josh is more than deserving of this award. He was deserving of it last year. The work he has done is paramount to rebuilding the community in the city of Schenectady. He raised over $50,000 for our program in a two-year span. Even during the pandemic, he found time to remain committed to hang out, to teach and to work and engage with the youth of Schenectady.”
Union interim head coach John Ronan is happy that Kosack won.
“I’m so proud of Josh,” Ronan said. “All his work that he’s done in the community, on campus, in the classroom [and] on the ice, being recognized at the highest level and probably the most prestigious award that you can win, I’m tremendously proud of him.”
It’s the second award Kosack has won in the last few weeks. On March 17, Kosack was named the winner of the ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
Despite not winning the Hockey Humanitarian Award last year, Kosack did capture the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award. He leaves a lasting legacy on the Union program.
“The biggest thing for me last year buying the presents, it was very cool to see,” Kosack said. “But this year, like physically building a house, it’s something I’ll be able to come back in 10 to 15 years, bring my family back here and show them this is what I did at Union, so that’s something that’ll be very close to me the rest of my life.”
Minnesota State goalie Dyden McKay was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college hockey player. McKay, whose team faces Denver in the NCAA championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday at TD Garden in Boston, is the first goalie to win the Hobey since Michigan State’s Ryan Miller did it in 2001.
Northeastern goalie Devon Levi was a two-time winner. He won the Mike Richter Award for the nation’s top goalie. He was also named the Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year.
Merrimack’s Jordan Seyfert won the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award.