Rico Phillips has always put his heart into the Flint Inner City Youth Hockey League, and last night he received recognition from the NHL.

Rico was invited to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas when he found out he was one of the three finalists for the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award. After a period of online voting, Rico was named the winner at the NHL Awards last night.

I don't know anyone who is more deserving of this award, because Rico really is a community hero here in Flint.

Despite a stumble on his way to the stage, Rico accepted the award with grace, humility, and a sense of humor.

I love that Rico took time to show love to Flint, because it just proves how much he puts on for our city. The definition of the Willie O'Ree award on the NHL website is the perfect description of what Rico does for Flint.

The O'Ree Award is given annually to an individual who - through the game of hockey - has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society

2019 NHL Awards
Getty Images

I could write for hours about what a great guy Rico is, and how he more than deserves all the accolades given to him, but his Facebook post after the awards show sums it up best.

Congrats Rico, and thank you for always representing Flint.

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