The Charlotte Checkers are proud to announce that Derek Sheppard has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Charlotte community during the 2019-20 season.

In addition to volunteering for nearly every school and hospital visit that the Checkers scheduled this season (10 total), Sheppard went above and beyond those opportunities through his work with Haerfest Roasting Company, a Checkers corporate partner that provides jobs for those with disabilities.

After making an initial visit to help film a promotional video outlining Haerfest’s mission, Sheppard made weekly visits on his own time and would often donate Checkers tickets and merchandise to their employees.

“Derek Sheppard is the favorite Charlotte Checker of our children as well as our employees, said Toby and Cheri Foreman, owners of Haerfest Roasting Company. “When the Checkers were in town and not at the rink, Derek would often be found at our coffee roastery enjoying coffee and spending time with our employees who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. It is this ability to see others and give of oneself on and off the rink that makes Derek a truly impressive man.”

“Derek Sheppard innately and consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of our hockey players,” said Checkers COO Tera Black. “He has contributed enormously to the Checkers experience and brand, and we are truly fortunate to have him as part our organization.”

Sheppard, who recorded five fighting majors this season while often playing the role of “enforcer” on the ice, hopes to become a police officer at the conclusion of his hockey career.

Sheppard is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.