May 2, 2023

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Wild General Manager Mike Murray today announced that defenseman Dakota Mermis has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Des Moines community during the 2022-23 season.  


Mermis is now one of 32 finalists for the AHL’s 2022-23 Yanick Dupré Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League on Thursday, May 5. 


Dakota biggest and most impactful venture this season surrounded the Purple Leash Project, a national initiative established in 2019 by Purina and nonprofit RedRover to provide grants, resources and support to help domestic violence shelters better serve the needs of domestic abuse survivors with pets. On Apr. 2, 2023, Mermis, Purina, and RedRover launched a one-day fundraiser to help generate funds and awareness for the Purple Leash Project. This fundraiser took place during the Wild’s annual Pucks ‘N Paws game and included a silent auction featuring an autographed, game-worn jersey, two “Favorite Things” baskets featuring Charlie and Kaizer’s (Dakota’s dogs) favorite toys and treats, and a customized, signed Purple Leash Project stick. In all, this fundraiser collected over $4,000 to help support survivors of abuse and ensure nobody has to choose between their safety and their pet. 

Another one of Dakota’s initiatives this season revolved around the Food Bank of Iowa with the support of long time Iowa Wild season ticket holders, Fred and Rose James. The James family pledged to donate $100 to the Food Bank of Iowa for every point Dakota registered through the end of the season along with $300 for every hat trick scored by the Iowa Wild. As of Apr. 4, 2023, the James family donated $2,600 to the Food Bank to assist with food security for Iowans across the state. On top of the point pledge, Dakota volunteered to join Fred and Rose at the Food Bank for a few hours one afternoon following practice in March. During this volunteer effort, Dakota, Fred, and Rose packed thousands of pounds of potatoes to send to 50 counties across Iowa. 

Dakota’s commitment to the Des Moines community included an Adopt-a-Family event in collaboration with Oakridge Neighborhood Services and Scheels, which provided 23 children with $250 gift cards for holiday shopping. Scheels also donated household items like paper towels, dish soap, and laundry detergent to each family. 

Throughout the season, Dakota also fostered a relationship with both the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, where he and his wife invited families out to Wild games with an all-inclusive set up so each family could enjoy a night without having to buy tickets, food, or drinks. Following each game, Dakota made it a point to come out and meet with each family outside the locker room to talk about their experience at the game. Dakota continued his work from the previous season with the Urbandale Community Action Network, where he was a guest speaker for the Respect-Able program which is their mentorship program for young males in the Des Moines community. He volunteered to appear at the team’s Junior Crash Course program, which offers children in the metro area the ability to learn to play hockey at no cost. 

Iowa Wild hockey is presented by MercyOne. For more information, please visit www.iowawild.com. Fans can purchase single-game tickets through the team’s website at www.iowawild.com. Group tickets (10 or more), suites, Wild 365 memberships or premium tickets can be purchased by contacting the Iowa Wild Ticket Department at 515-564-8700 or tickets@iowawild.com. Season tickets for 2023-24 are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets for the upcoming season at https://www.iowawild.com/wild-365

Visit http://www.iowawild.com/pressbox for the latest news and information from the team including press releases, game notes, multimedia content, and daily statistics. 

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