Frontenacs goalie Mason Vaccari named OHL Humanitarian of the Year

Mason Vaccari on the ice. Image via the Kingston Frontenacs.

In the 2023-24 season, each save by Kingston Frontenac’s goalie Mason Vaccari held profound significance for the Pediatrics Unit at the Kingston Health and Sciences Centre, thanks to his Mason’s Miracles community initiative.

According to a release from the hockey club, this impactful endeavour didn’t go unnoticed. On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) announced that Vaccari had won the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy, honouring him as the OHL Humanitarian of the Year. Vaccari has raised well over $12,000 for the Pediatrics Unit at the Kingston Health and Sciences Centre, with the number continuing to climb, the Frontenacs stated.

“Being recognized by the league for an award like the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy is truly an honour,” Vaccari expressed. “When the idea of Mason’s Miracles first started, the goal was to give back to the community that has not only given myself, but my teammates as well, a home away from home. I am very proud to have met and surpassed our goal of raising $10,000 for the Pediatrics Unit of Kingston General Hospital. I am confident that this money will go a long way to making a difference for children needing care at the hospital.”

Heading into the 2023-24 season, Vaccari approached the Kingston Frontenacs’ business operations team with a pitch for a fundraising campaign and an incentive he was passionate about, according to the release. He wanted to give back to Kingston, a city that has become his home away from home, and he wanted to focus on helping sick children in need. With that, “Mason’s Miracles” was born.

The fundraising campaign was aimed at supporting the Pediatrics Unit at the Kingston Health and Sciences Centre. It began last summer, when Vaccari committed to donating $0.50 from his personal funds for every save he achieved during the 2023-24 season. According to the release, the initiative swiftly gained momentum.

Vaccari extended the effort by hosting a competition inviting local children to design his goalie mask, with the top three designs voted on by the community. The Frontenacs said that a winning design, by 13-year-old Ethan McBride, was selected and the pattern was worn proudly by Mason all season long. The mask has recently been put up for auction, with all proceeds benefiting Mason’s Miracles.

The mask with the winning design is up for auction. Image via Kingston Frontenacs.

According to the release, the initiative swiftly grew awareness, drawing support from the local community. Impressed by the young goalie’s efforts, Charette Custom Homes Inc. joined Mason’s Miracles as a matching donor, effectively doubling the contribution to $1.00 for each save Vaccari made, with all proceeds going to the Pediatrics Unit at the Kingston Health and Sciences Centre. Charette Custom Homes Inc. also committed bonus funds for any time Vaccari was named a star of the game for his on-ice performance.

Vaccari understands the importance of the support he has received for his cause, saying, “I especially want to thank Charette Custom Homes for believing in me, this mission, and matching my donations over the course of this year. I also want to thank the doctors, nurses, and families who allowed me and my teammates to spend time with and get to know some of the children within the ward. I thoroughly enjoyed my visits and it was some of my favourite memories of the season.”

The Frontenacs noted that a link was created through canadahelps.org allowing members of the Frontenacs community to contribute to the Mason’s Miracles with a $10,000 campaign goal. Through social media promotion, personal messages, in-game mentions, local press and awareness campaigns, Vaccari was able to surpass his $10,000 goal with additional funds still being raised.

While fundraising is a significant aspect of Vaccari’s endeavours, the Frontenacs noted it’s important not to overlook the time and personal commitment he dedicates to the children benefiting from the Pediatrics wing’s resources. Throughout the season, Vaccari made numerous visits aimed at uplifting the spirits of children facing challenges. He engaged them in activities like playing video games and mini sticks, collaborating on art projects, discussing hockey, and offering enthusiastic support, according to the release. His goal was to ensure that their time in Pediatrics was as positive as possible amidst difficult circumstances.

Vaccari and teammates visited the Pediatric wing at KHSC. Photos via Kingston Frontenacs.

“We are extremely proud of Mason for his efforts in our community,” said General Manager Kory Cooper. “When players arrive in Kingston, we stress the importance of being involved in the community and being good people on and off the ice. Mason has taken that to the next level this season. He provides us with a great example of what players in our organization and our league can accomplish with their platform. Mason is deserving of this award, and he should be proud of what he has accomplished with Mason’s Miracles.”

While actively involved in the Mason’s Miracles initiative, Vaccari reportedly remained highly engaged both on the ice and in academics. He ranked second in the OHL for minutes played, totaling 3,364, and secured the fourth-highest number of saves at 1,458. These statistics contributed to his 27-27-3 record, guiding Kingston into the OHL playoffs.

Despite a demanding schedule, Vaccari maintained his academic performance, the Frontenacs noted. In February, during his final semester of high school, he achieved an 89 per cent average and was honoured as the Academic Player of the Month. Transitioning swiftly, he began university courses in Economics and Human Development, demonstrating his commitment to both athletics and education.

According to the release, despite the demands of being an OHL goaltender and shouldering one of the busiest workloads in the league, Vaccari remained committed to serving his community. He dedicated himself to fostering positive experiences for children facing adversity and raised a significant sum to enhance facilities in the Pediatrics unit, ensuring enduring benefits for future generations long after his OHL tenure.

“I want to thank everyone including family, friends, teammates, billets, the rest of the Kingston Frontenacs organization, and everyone else who has made a donation online, contributed their time to get the word out, and sent me messages of encouragement along the way,” said Vaccari.

“I am so grateful for your support and I could not have accomplished any of this without you.”

The Kingston Frontenacs said they are immensely proud of Mason Vaccari, and extend heartfelt congratulations to him for being awarded the 2024 Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy as the OHL’s Humanitarian of the Year. Fans interested in supporting Mason’s Miracles can do so by donating here.

One thought on “Frontenacs goalie Mason Vaccari named OHL Humanitarian of the Year

  • What a wonderful heart warming story. Congratulations Mason on your accomplishments! You are an inspiration.

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