Wheeling Park’s Brooke McArdle Named Spirit Of Michael Carroll Recipient
Park hockey player honored with annual award
WHEELING–Four years ago, cancer met its match when it crossed paths with a young man named Michael Carroll, a student at Wheeling Park High School.
Despite enduring his own battle with the awful disease, Carroll set his sights on helping other young children in the same situation.
He created stress-relieving toys that he named Michael’s Meanies, which were designed to give children with cancer an outlet to take out their frustrations.
The idea spread all across the world with 53,000 meanies being sent to 398 different facilities.
According to www.michaelsmeanies.com, Carroll’s goal was “to give something to the kids that they could take their anger out on. I thought of making these into a stress ball like toy that the kids can squeeze hard, punch or even throw them.
“My ultimate goal is for every child diagnosed with cancer to get one during their treatment.”
Carroll was honored on Wheeling Park’s Senior Night in 2014 when senior hockey standout and current Mid-American USA Hockey Vice President of West Virginia Dalton Haas, decided to make him part of the team by presenting him with his own purple jersey.
“Michael was a grade younger than me in high school,” Haas said. “We started the Cancer Awareness games as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and in my senior year, we wanted to honor Michael for battling cancer.”
Sadly, just a few months later, Carroll passed away but the impact he made on the community and the entire world will be felt forever.
In fact, Haas and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to honor Carroll every year since his passing on Wheeling Park’s Senior Night by handing out the Spirit of Michael Carroll Award to one Park senior who represents Carroll the best.
“The Spirit of Michael Carroll Award on Wheeling Park’s Senior Night in honor of Michael is one of the great things I am trying to do in the hockey community,” Haas said.
This year, the award was accepted by Brooke McArdle, who met every criteria needed as she became the first female to win the award in its four years of existence.
“A player must receive two teacher recommendations and the teacher uses the criteria to recommend a student,” Haas said. “The criteria includes leadership, a positive attitude, a willingness to help, creativity, motivation, an outgoing personality and a summary evaluation.
“Brooke was in the top 10 percent in almost every category and received the highest recommendation in the award’s existence.”
McArdle has been playing hockey for 14 years, spending time in the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association and the Arctic Foxes Hockey Association, while sporting the Park and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite uniforms.
In the last five seasons, McArdle has accumulated 120 points with the Elite, netting 57 goals and dishing out 63 assists.
She has also played in nine USA Hockey National Championships, winning a pair of bronze medals but taking home the Michael Carroll Award is just as important to McArdle as any other award.
“I am shocked that I won,” McArdle said. “There are five seniors to pick from on our team and they are all great candidates, so it is an honor to win it.”
McArdle was also named Wheeling Park’s assistant captain during her senior campaign and will continue her 14-year hockey career at Elmira College on a full-ride scholarship, where she will embark on a career in Federal Law Enforcement and Public Administration.
“I just love the game of hockey,” McArdle said. “It is fun to play and everything is different in every game. The competition is also extremely high.”
McArdle had the opportunity to meet Carroll when she was younger, while she watched her brother take the ice.
“I had the chance to meet Michael a couple of times when my brother played hockey,” McArdle said. “That’s how I began playing hockey. My brother started when he was little and I did gymnastics but I watched him play at the rink and I wanted to play too.”
McArdle also carries a semester GPA of 4.83 and an overall GPA of 4.3, while taking AP, CP and Honors classes in her high school career.
She is also a volunteer student hockey coach and a sled hockey volunteer.
Although McArdle has missed some time recently with a shoulder injury, she will be cheering on her Wheeling Park teammates as they face off with rival Wheeling Central on March 5th in the 14th Annual Bob Otten Hockey Championship at WesBanco Arena.