From this list of 29 finalists, representatives from American Specialty and the AHL will choose the winner of the 2007-08 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award. The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupre, who died in August 1997 at the age of 24, following a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupre, an AHL All-Star in 1995, played four seasons with the Hershey Bears, registering 169 points in 207 AHL games. He also skated in 35 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers. The winner of the 2007-08 Yanick Dupre Award will be announced sometime in early April.
Despite being a rookie and the youngest member of the team, Weber was one of the leaders both on and off the ice for the Amerks. Though he wore the assistant captain’s “A” on his game sweater, so too he did in the community spending spent countless hours visiting kids at libraries, schools and hospitals. He made it a priority to teach kids about hockey, reading and healthy living.
What made the hard-nosed defenseman so popular with the fans was his commitment to the team’s Reading Power Play initiative. The program, which partners with the Monroe County Library system, teaches kids about hockey and the importance of reading. Weber read the book “Z is for Zamboni” to kids at Mendon, Greece, Chili and Parma libraries. Along with The Moose, he created quite a following at his appearances and attracted crowds in excess of 100 on occasion.
During the holidays, Weber, along with teammates Patrick Kaleta and Kenndal McArdle, The Moose, and members of the Rochester Rhinos and Knighthawks visited Rochester General Hospital. The players signed autographs, handed out free tickets, and met with sick children and young adults throughout the hospital.
Two days after Christmas, Weber joined five of his teammates at Cheerleaders USA to sign autographs and interact with fans in attendance. His restaurant visits continued in the coming months, making several stops at the Original Charbroil House to dine with guests and giveaway Amerks memorabilia.
In February, Weber continued to interact with the younger fans as he teamed up with teammates and teachers to take on students in floor hockey tournaments. Weber capped off the year by helping the Amerks raise $46,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Rochester. Weber and the Amerks waited on guests and performed antics and tricks to help generate funds. Weber even surprised the group with a $500 cash donation for research to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.