Tom Greidanus won the Henrik Zetterberg hockey scholarship this year—mostly for what he’s done off the ice.
The scholarship, named after a captain of the Detroit Red Wings, gives $1,500 to students who show leadership and community service off the ice and who also chose to play for a high school hockey team over a club team.
“He’s a kid of incredible character,” said Shawn Zimmerman, the coach at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian High School, where Greidanus plays.
“He’s always smiling, no matter what. He works his tail off every practice, every drill,” he continued. “Everything he does is something you would hope your own child would do.”
Greidanus, a member of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, is an eagle scout with the Boy Scouts of America. He also volunteers with Degage Ministries, a community center for people who are homeless in downtown Grand Rapids.
“I’ve served there since I was in grade 7 because I thought it was a great way to meet people from the community, the homeless people,” he said. “I know like half the people walking around downtown now because I’ve talked with them.”
Greidanus said playing for his high school team has given him a chance to pursue activities like these outside of hockey, even though there may be some downsides.
“If you play for a high school team, you’re a whole lot less likely to play in college or pro,” said Ryan Betts, a teammate from Grand Rapids Christian.
Greidanus plans on attending Calvin College next fall, where he isn’t sure whether he’ll play hockey, but he does plan on making a difference.
“I want to be a dentist, doing service in the city and in Michigan and helping out by doing free dental clinics,” said Greidanus. “You don’t have to dedicate your entire life to hockey.”