October 10, 2013



ST. LOUIS – Oct. 10, 2013 – Jack Hoffman’s magical touchdown run in Nebraska’s spring football game will be among the extraordinary moments of sportsmanship celebrated at the Musial Awards in St. Louis on Nov. 9.  The eight-year-old from Atkinson, Neb., who fought brain cancer, will attend the event at the Peabody Opera House to present a Musial Award to the Nebraska football program.  It will be his chance to thank those whose kindness and compassion raised his spirits and brought national attention to his inspiring battle.

Named in honor of the late St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer, the Musial Awards celebrate Stan’s legacy by recognizing the greatest moments and stories of sportsmanship from around the country.  The event was called the National Sportsmanship Awards until last November when it was renamed for Stan the Man – a fitting tribute to the beloved St. Louis icon who embodied class and character.  The Musial Awards take place annually in St. Louis and are produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation.  Maryville University is the presenting sponsor.

The University of Nebraska is one of seven award recipients being honored at this year’s event.  The school’s football program befriended Jack two years ago after he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  In April, the coaching and support staff hatched a plan to have Jack suit up and play a down in the Huskers’ annual spring scrimmage.  In the fourth quarter, quarterback Taylor Martinez handed the ball to Jack, who scampered 69 yards to the end zone.  With 60,000 fans cheering, players from both sidelines poured onto the field to hoist Jack on their shoulders.  Three months later, Jack won an ESPY for this year’s best sports moment.  On Nov. 9 at the Musials, it will be the Huskers who will be recognized for exhibiting the graciousness and generosity synonymous with Stan the Man.

Other 2013 award recipients include:

  • Casey Mack:  A high school baseball standout from Trumbull, Conn., Mack quietly purchased bats with his own money for three other teams in his school’s conference that faced tighter budgets and had experienced less on-the-field success.  Only the opposing coaches knew of Mack’s generosity and selflessness until his story went public.
  • Ethan McConnell:  With seconds left in an Oregon high school basketball game, McConnell passed the ball to opponent Davan Overton, who hit a three-pointer with no time left.  Overton has a rare condition called Dandy-Walker Syndrome, which prevents him from playing contact sports and limits the opportunities he gets to play on the basketball court.
  • Kirsten Moore and Westmont College:  Moore is the women’s basketball coach at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.  In May 2012, her husband Alex passed away unexpectedly following surgery as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.  Seven weeks later, she gave birth to the couple’s first child.  Moore persevered, and with the support of the Westmont community, she overcame tremendous adversity to guide Westmont to its first-ever NAIA women’s basketball championship.
  • The Fraser Valley Fusion Softball Team:  This past July, Fusion players carried an opponent who injured her knee after hitting a game-tying home run and could not make it around the bases on her own power.  The Fusion’s remarkable selflessness was inspired by one of the pinnacle acts of sportsmanship that took place in an NCAA softball game five years ago.  In that contest, two Central Washington players, Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, carried an opponent who tore her ACL after hitting a homer.  Holtman and Wallace were honored at the Musial Awards in 2008 and are returning to St. Louis to present the award to the Fusion and mark the five-year anniversary of “the home run that touched them all.”  Hailing from Langley, British Columbia, the Fusion is the first Musial Award winner from outside the United States.
  • In addition to the national and international honorees, the Musial Awards will recognize two local stories of extraordinary sportsmanship.  St. Dominic High School graduate Bri Ebenroth will be honored for her decision to return her soccer scholarship to Drury University after she was diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic fatigue and left her unable to compete at the high level she expected of herself.  A Musial also will be presented to Seckman High School softball coach Steve Bonastia.  In a game last month against Webster Groves High School, a Webster Groves player hit a two-run homer that was mistakenly ruled a ground-rule double by the umpires.  Bonastia walked up to the umpires and insisted that the ball had cleared the fence, even though changing the call would leave Seckman down two runs late in the game.


More on the 2013 honorees and their stories can be found at www.stlsports.org/awards/winners.php.


Tickets for the Musial Awards are available for $35.  They provide a reserved seat to the awards show that begins at 6:45 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased at the Ford Box Office at Scottrade Center, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Additional service and handling fees may apply.  Premium tickets and packages also are available.  These all-inclusive tickets and packages provide prime seating for the awards show plus exclusive access to pre-show receptions with food and beverage, reserved parking and more.  Details can be obtained at www.MusialAwards.com or by calling 314-345-5111.
Those wishing to support the Musial Awards but unable to attend are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to the event.  As part of a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, donations to the Musial Awards will enable “Bigs” and “Littles” to be in attendance and experience this special evening.


In addition to the live awards show on Nov. 9, the Musial Awards will air as a primetime one-hour television special on KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 on Friday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.  This past weekend, the event’s 2012 broadcast won two Mid-America Emmy Awards for best sports one-time special and best sports news feature / program feature segment.

For more information, contact:
The St. Louis Sports Commission

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