Rapid City Rush forward Tyler Coulter is the 2020 recipient of the Blaine Jarvis “Heart and Soul Award,” the organization’s highest individual honor.
Jarvis spent two seasons in a Rush uniform as a member of both the inaugural Rush team in 2008-09 and the CHL championship team in 2009-10. He passed away in an accident on Jan. 31, 2016 at the age of 31. The Rush organization created the “Blaine Jarvis Heart and Soul Award” following his death. It has been presented annually to a Rush player at the end of every season since its inception in 2016.
The honor is awarded annually “to the Rush player that best exemplifies the qualities of Blaine Jarvis both on and off the ice: professionalism, perseverance, determination, commitment to the game, work ethic, and excellence in both the locker room and community.”
“Tyler had an amazing rookie year both on and off the ice. Not only did he show us how great a player and teammate he can be, but he also showed us how outstanding a human being he is,” Rush head coach Daniel Tetrault said. “In all my years coaching and playing, I’ve never seen a player, let alone a first-year professional, share as much compassion with fans, sponsors, and community partners as he has. The ownership he took on the ‘Badge Buddies’ program, regardless of if we won or lost, speaks volumes of his understanding that hockey, and professional sports as a whole, is more than just the game. It was a no-brainer for me to award him with our team’s highest honor in the Blaine Jarvis ‘Heart and Soul Award’. I’m grateful for Tyler’s contributions on the ice, and his friendship, compassion, and good nature to our organization and community off of it.”
The “Blaine Jarvis Heart and Soul Award” has been presented five times, twice to fellow CHL championship teammates of Jarvis. Goaltender Danny Battochio was the inaugural recipient in 2016, followed in 2017 by former Rush defenseman Riley Weselowski, who considered Jarvis to be his best friend dating back to their years as teammates at Bemidji State University. Defenseman Josh Elmes received the award in 2018, and forward Cedric Montminy received the award at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Coulter is the third consecutive rookie to earn the honor.
“I’m not only very thankful for this recognition, but very thankful to play for and represent such a first-class organization in the Rapid City Rush. I’m deeply humbled and honored,” Coulter said. “To be recognized in the same breath as two of my outstanding teammates in Cedric and Josh, our goaltending coach in Danny, and a long-time presence in Riley as the winners of this award means a great deal to me. I’ll unfortunately never have the chance to meet Blaine, but if I could, I’d express to him my gratitude for setting such a high standard in what it means to be not only a member of the Rush, but a model for how a professional hockey player should be every day.”
Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, Coulter joined the Rush at the start of the 2019-20 season following a year in Sweden Division 1. He pieced together an outstanding season for his first year as a professional. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound forward earned 24 goals, 15 assists, and 39 points in 47 games. His 24 goals were tied for the team-lead and finished fourth among rookies in the ECHL, his 11 power play goals led all ECHL rookies, and his 39 points were 12th among first-year professionals in the ECHL.
Off the ice, Coulter was a mainstay in the Rapid City community, appearing in a multitude of events with ranging causes and scopes. Of the many community initiatives that he participated in, perhaps his impact can be most seen through the first year “Badge Buddies” program. “Badge Buddies” is an opportunity for the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, and Box Elder Police Department to bring School Resource and Liaison Officers, as well as local children, to Rush home games in an effort to foster positive relationships between law enforcement and children in the community.
Inspired by an experience in the final year of his major-junior career with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Coulter met with the “Badge Buddy” attendees after every Rush home game to teach the children about how important our law enforcement is to our community. For his efforts off the ice and in the community, Coulter was named the Rush organization’s nominee for the 2020 ECHL Community Service Award.
“I’ve been blessed in this organization to be surrounded by amazing individuals both in the front office and in the locker room, and that makes it very easy to come to the rink and represent this community every day,” Coulter said. “I want to thank Coach Tetrault, the Rush organization, and all the fans for an outstanding year, and for this humbling honor.”
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