USA Hockey Magazine

February 2015

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04 STOPs STARTS & USA HOCKEY NEWS & UPDATES PHOTOS BY Getty Images; Images on Ice; Hockey East FEBRUARY. 2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM The Chicago Blackhawks have partnered with the Windy City's favorite son Eddie Olczyk and Blackhawk Charities to present the fourth-annual Eddie Olczyk Award. The award supports youth hockey players, teams and organizations that may not have the means to play competitively in Illinois. Since the award's inception in 2011, more than $100,000 has been donated to 46 individuals and two organizations. "It's such an amazing privilege to be able to help our local youth hockey community through this award, which continues to grow each year due in large part to the support of the entire Blackhawks organization," said Olczyk, a 2012 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who played 16 seasons in the NHL after being selected by the Blackhawks in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. "I am proud to be actively involved in the Illinois youth hockey community, which has seen extraordinary growth in recent years, and is helping make a profound impact." Any individual, family, Illinois sanctioned team, or AHAI organization in need of assistance to run programs that encourage participation in youth hockey can apply by submitting a letter of inquiry by Feb. 20. To learn more go to HL players have long earned the reputation of battling through injuries over the course of the season. So it sent shockwaves throughout the league when a number of top players were sidelined by a childhood dis- ease that many thought had long been eradicated. Players from several teams, including superstars Ryan Suter, Corey Perry and Sidney Crosby, as well as two on-ice officials, have been sidelined after con- tracting a case of the mumps. If the mumps can run rough- shod through an NHL locker room, how can it impact a youth hockey team? According to Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious disease specialist and a member of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group, the best defense against the mumps for people of all ages is to ensure they are prop- erly vaccinated and their shot records are up-to-date. "The big thing here is that I think this should be less about mumps and more of a reminder that if we get lax in our vacci- nations we can see a resurgence of these previously devastating illnesses," Tosh said. "The other part of that is if people are sick they should seek care to ensure that they're not contagious to others." Tosh said that people can get sick two and a half weeks after they've been exposed to the virus, and that those infected can be contagious before they show any symptoms. The virus is transmitted through saliva, and although it can live on surfaces, it is primarily passed on through coughing, sneezing, spitting, talking and sharing of items like water bottles — all com- mon behaviors in sports. "In general, you really don't want to be sharing too many things, especially among people who could be infected," he said. The illness can be especially painful for adults, with symp- toms including swelling of the salivary glands in the cheeks and jaw and, in some cases, sharp testicular pain. The best way to safeguard against contracting the mumps is to make sure you're up-to- date with vaccinations, includ- i n g y o u r m u m p s , m e a s l e s and rubella. "I think that what this should do is reinvigorate people to get their routine vaccines," Tosh said. "There's been an unfor- tunate decline in vaccinations overall, in part because we have lost our community memory of these illnesses. People have sort of slipped and aren't vaccinat- ing their children at rates that we used to." N HOW TO AVOID TAKING YOUR LUMPS FROM THE MUMPS Olczyk Award Opens Doors In Hockey While the mumps have been in the news due to NHL player involvement, influenza (the flu) remains a more widespread problem. Dr. Michael Stuart, USA Hockey's chief medical officer, has the following recommendations to prevent spread of the flu: • Get a flu vaccine • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available • Keep your distance from sick people during flu season • Don't share items such as water bottles, utensils or towels • Contain your coughs and sneezes by coughing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow KEEPING THE FLU BUG AT BAY Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild

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