Over his six seasons as a player in the American Hockey League, Mermis has placed an emphasis on making positive contributions to his community. In 2021-22, his first season in Des Moines, Mermis stepped into and embraced a leadership role both on and off the ice. With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – and the birth of his first child in December – altering his approach, Mermis, along with his wife, Sarah, remained steadfast in believing in the importance of community work.
Among his many endeavors, Mermis teamed up with the Urbandale Community Action Network to provide essentials such as winter clothing and food supplies to local families in need around the holiday season. He also covered the cost for UCAN families to have special experiences at Wild games, enjoying a night out when they might normally not have the means to do so. Mermis was heavily involved in the team’s Pucks ‘n’ Paws Day featuring a visit to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, as well as the Wild’s annual Pink in the Rink game for cancer awareness.
With a positive attitude and genuine humility, Mermis has helped the entire Iowa Wild organization continue to be a pillar of the greater Des Moines community.
Mermis’s selection comes from a field of 31 team winners of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Person of the Year award for their respective cities. Traditionally acknowledging a player for his outstanding contributions to his local community, this season the league expanded the Person of the Year program to allow teams to recognize individuals who played an important and perhaps unexpected role in supporting their organization and/or impacting the local community as the AHL again navigated through a season impacted by COVID-19.
This year’s team winners of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Person of the Year awards are:
Abbotsford Canucks ― Noah Juulsen, Defenseman
Bakersfield Condors ― Ryan Holt, Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting
Belleville Senators ― Breanne Matthews, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Bridgeport Islanders ― Samuel Provost, Community Engagement Manager
Charlotte Checkers ― Mary Grams, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships
Chicago Wolves ― Ivan Lodnia, Forward
Cleveland Monsters ― Ben Adams, Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications
Colorado Eagles ― Kevin McGlue, Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting
Grand Rapids Griffins ― Kyle Criscuolo, Forward
Hartford Wolf Pack ― Jared Degler, Assistant Athletic Trainer
Henderson Silver Knights ― Gabe Mirabelli, Director of Enterprise Operations
Hershey Bears ― Dan “Beaker” Stuck, Manager of Wellness and Team Affairs
Iowa Wild ― Dakota Mermis, Defenseman
Laval Rocket ― Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Forward
Lehigh Valley Phantoms ― Trevor Herrick, Director of Sales
Manitoba Moose ― Jimmy Oligny, Defenseman
Milwaukee Admirals ― Mike Wojciechowski, Vice President of Business Development
Ontario Reign ― Cameron Gaunce, Defenseman
Providence Bruins ― Nick Neary, Video Coach
Rochester Americans ― Kent Weisbeck, Assistant Athletic Trainer
Rockford IceHogs ― Russ Holden, Equipment Manager
San Diego Gulls ― Jeff Goduti, Team Services Manager
San Jose Barracuda ― Nick Nollenberger, Media Relations and Broadcasting Manager
Springfield Thunderbirds ― Jim Syner, Boomer
Stockton Heat ― Brandon Weiss, Director, Communications
Syracuse Crunch ― Jackie Decker, Community Relations Manager
Texas Stars ― Anthony Louis, Forward
Toronto Marlies ― Rich Clune, Forward
Tucson Roadrunners ― Bokondji Imama, Forward
Utica Comets ― Damion Parmelee, Equipment Manager
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins ― Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Defenseman
Presented annually since 1998, the AHL’s Yanick Dupré Memorial Award honors the late Yanick Dupré, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupré played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and was an AHL All-Star in 1995.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 32 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.