An award created to honour Dayna Brons’ legacy has been presented to a community-minded goalie with the Charlottetown Islanders.
The Dayna Brons Honorary Award, presented by the Canadian Blood Services and Hockey Gives Blood, recognizes an individual from Canada’s hockey community who exhibits outstanding dedication towards patients who rely on blood and stem cell products.
Matthew Welsh is the second winner of the award. It was presented to him in Halifax on May 6 at the end of a hockey stick to ensure physical distancing.
“It's a true honor to win this award,” he said while the award was being presented live on Facebook.
“Reading up on Dayna and her story, integrity and character are two traits that she really portrayed, so to win this award, it makes me really proud, really grateful, for everything Canadian Blood Services and Hockey Gives Blood has done for me over the past year, allowing me to work with them.”
Brons, who was the athletic therapist for the Humboldt Broncos, was known for her humility, dedication, sacrifice, work ethic and kindness. She was also a blood donor. She died as a result of the April 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus collision.
Welsh served as a player ambassador for Hockey Gives Blood and the Canadian Blood Services for the 2019-20 season. In that role, he encouraged his teammates and the public at large to donate blood.
In a video released online, he encouraged people to continue to donate blood when possible.
“During this uncertain time, there remains a need for blood and blood products in Canada,” he said.
Welsh is also active in the Children’s Wish Foundation.
“Whether he’s tired or not after playing a game, Welsh is always out there signing every autograph, taking the time to make the kids feel special and snapping pictures with them,” said a profile on Welsh’s community involvement on the Charlottetown Islanders’ website. “Welsh has continued to support the sick children in every way possible; sending them video greetings and words of encouragement as they battle their illnesses.”
Throughout the 2018-19 season, he worked with three students between the ages of 9 and 11 at a local elementary school, taking on a Big Brother-like mentorship role.