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Senior forward Parker Esswein, who attends Wauwatosa East and competes in boys hockey for the Brookfield East co-op (the Brookfield Stars), was named the recipient of the Jeff Sauer Award, the Coach Sauer Foundation announced in a release on Wednesday.

The Jeff Sauer Award was presented Wednesday at the Wisconsin High School Hockey Coaches Association dinner by Tony Granato, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey coach.

The annual award aims to encourage community service among girls and boys high school hockey players in Wisconsin.

It is named after the legendary former UW coach and hockey ambassador Jeff Sauer, who passed away in February, 2017.

The Jeff Sauer Award’s goal is to recognize good high school hockey players being great people.

Esswein completed 200 hours of volunteer service in the last four years.

He served as the captain of both the Wauwatosa East baseball team and the Stars’ hockey team and was Brookfield’s third leading scorer this season with nine goals, 15 assists and 24 points. The Stars are a co-op team consisting of nine schools.

Esswein plays trumpet in the band, serves on the Student Athlete Advisory Council at Wauwatosa East where he helped organize a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Esswein also has been involved with his baseball team’s fundraiser, where the players sold Christmas trees and coached four times a month in the youth hockey programs for the Elmbrook Eagles and Brookfield Stars.

Esswein has a 4.0 grade point average and plans to study biomedical engineering in college because he was inspired by the medical advances which have helped his 5-year-old-hearing-impaired brother through heart surgery.

His coach is Greg Copeland, who was a finalist for the college Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2009 and serves as a trustee for the award.

Esswein was one of four finalists.

The others were Dane Luebke, a senior defenseman from Waunakee; Haley Meskin, a senior forward from Madison West and the Middleton co-op girls hockey team (the Madison Metro Lynx; and Luke Trittelwitz, a senior defenseman Grantsburg High School and the Grantsburg co-op (the WSFLG Blizzard).

The Coach Sauer Foundation was impressed with all the candidates and their stories of student-athletes who deserve notice for reasons that ultimately are more important than mere personal statistics.

The Jeff Sauer Award is modeled after the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s finest citizen and seeks to recognize players, male or female, who contribute to local communities in a true humanitarian spirit.

Here is a look into the other finalists for the award:

Dane Luebke, Waunakee senior defenseman: Luebke was captain of the Warriors’ hockey team and also had the rally-starting hit for state champion Waunakee in the WIAA state baseball title game last June. Luebke has a 4.07 grade point average and is National Merit semifinalist and member of the National Honor Society, He umpires baseball, plays in the band and has been involved with fundraisers for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Luebke made six mission trips through his church and helped learn about inner city schools in Houston, in the Bronx and on Menomonie Indian reservations. On the ice, Luebke had a goal and 10 points as a senior. His coach is Eric Olson.

Haley Meskin, Metro Lynx forward and a student at Madison West: Meskin was captain of her hockey team, which was made up of players from six Dane County schools, and also is a three-year captain of her lacrosse team, where she is an all-conference midfielder. Meskin has a 3.8 grade point average, is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as a peer tutor at West in Spanish, math and biology. She also sings in the acapella women’s group which raised more than $3,000 for music education at West. Meskin is an assistant coach for U6, U8 and U14 teams with the Polar Caps and filmed, edited and produced a promotional video for the Polar Caps youth organization last year. She also helped organize the “Stick it to Cancer” women’s hockey tournament, a fundraiser for the Susan B. Komen Foundation. On the ice, Meskin scored six goals, had 16 assists and 22 points for the Lynx. Her coach is Mike McKersie.

Luke Trittelwitz, a defenseman for the WSFLG Blizzard and a student at Grantsburg High School: Trittelwitz is captain of the Blizzard, a member of the golf team at Grantsburg and for the last seven years worked as a hockey referee. He is an Eagle Scout who amassed more than 295 community service hours in helping to build athletic fields for softball and baseball among other events at the Luther Point Bible Camp. That project is nominated as a finalist for the National Eagle Scout Service project of the year award, which will be presented next month. Trittelwitz is one of two students who are members of the Burnett County Board. He also is a member of the Student Council at Grantsburg and a member of the National Honor Society. Luke also serves as a counselor at the Luther Point Bible Camp. On the ice, Trittelwitz had one goal, one assist and two points this season for the Blizzard. His coach is Tim McDonald.

Madison Ice Arena displays a replica of the Jeff Sauer Award in its lobby to honor Esswein as well as Shane Ryan of Madison Edgewood, who was the first recipient, and all future award winners. Wauwatosa East High School also will receive a plaque to display to commemorate Esswein’s achievement.

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.