Yurisich Selected as Inaugural Midget Scholarship Winner
On Sunday, January 31st, the Cyclones announced the inaugural winner of our Midget Scholarship. The award was given to Tommy Yurisich. This was the first year of the award, a $2000.00 cash prize, given to the graduating Midget player who best met the criteria put forth during the application process.
Yurisich is a 17 year old senior at Batavia High School. He has played for the Cyclones for 11 seasons. When asked on the application how the Cyclones have influenced his life, Tommy had this to say, “Hockey has taught me discipline and patience. Both of these skills help to keep me grounded on and off the ice. Because of the busy schedules I have had to learn to manage my time, eat right and sleep well. I have a responsibility to my team to give 100% every time I step on the ice. I addition, I have a responsibility to my parents. It is an expensive sport and if I wanted to play at this level I always had to give my all.”
Ask any hockey player if they keep in touch with the guys they played with when they were growing up, and you get a resounding answer……..yes. Our scholarship winner is no different, “I have made some of my best friends through hockey. These are friends that I know I will have forever even if we are not on the ice together after this season.”
Joe and Betsy Yurisich have had three sons play for the Cyclones. That is 19 years of youth hockey! Tommy’s career started like many others. His mom Betsy explains, “Tommy put skates on for the first time when he was 3 years old. His father put a rink up in our backyard. Tommy started by using a plastic chair for support but quickly grabbed a stick and joined the rest of the kids in what would be the beginning of his hockey career.” A career and an activity that Joe and Betsy are going to miss. “The memories are countless….the laughs, the tears, the pain and swelling, the hugs and embraces, carpools and buses, wins and losses…it has been quite a ride for him. The best memories for us happen over and over when we see Tommy and his teammates come off the ice knowing they played a game of pride and respect. Are we proud parents? Absolutely!”
The applicants for the scholarship were asked to submit a teacher recommendation. Tommy’s Marine Science teacher at Batavia High School, had this to offer about our winner, “Tommy is a student who takes initiative to help his friends understand the material. He helps others by clearly explaining subject matter if asked. He is helpful, supportive and modest by nature. I highly recommend Tommy for this scholarship!”
One of his coaches on the U18 Central States team, Mike Real, was asked to characterize our winner as a hockey player and a person. “Tommy works hard all the time. He gives his best effort and when he has a bad day, there are never excuses, he just admits that it wasn’t his day. He is a true leader on and off the ice. This is a boy you would want your own kids to hang out with. He is one of those exceptional kids that has all the qualities to be a successful adult and give back to others who have given to him.”
When asked where his work ethic comes from, his mom said, “I would definitely say that Tommy got his work ethic form his father. His Dad has taught him to give 100% in everything he does. He reminds him that on the ice he is playing for the name on the front of the jersey and in life he is playing for the one on the back…be proud of both.”
Tommy participates in the club as a mentor for younger players. “I really like being on the ice with the younger kids and doing my best to help them learn. I remember how much I liked having older kids on the ice helping me learn. Scheduling can be difficult, but I would not trade that experience for anything.”
Tommy said that when his name was announced he was really surprised. “It is an honor to be named the first winner of this award. When I heard my name I was really thinking about beating the Sabres…..we played a great game that day, and we did beat the Sabres! It was a great day!”
The U18 team also just won the Central States Championship for the second year in a row. This is a group of players who have had tremendous success on the ice. Yurisich has applied and been accepted to four schools and will be deciding soon where he will go to start the next chapter of his life.
The Cyclones are extremely proud of Tommy and his teammates on their successful season and careers with our club. We wish all of them continued success as they move on and make room for the next group of Cyclones to try and fill their skates.