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2020 Adam Burish Award Winner: Alex Sternhagen

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 03/07/20, 9:30AM CST


Reach coach David Cox's nomination for Alex Sternhagen

Good Afternoon-

It is my pleasure to nominate Alex Sternhagen for this season’s Adam Burish Award.

I have known Alex and his family for over 15 years and have been associated with Alex in a variety of capacities during that period.

Alex has played with the same group of players throughout his youth and High School career. On February 1st this season he suffered a significant wrist injury during our Superior game that ended his high school career 4 weeks short of finishing with his team and childhood team mates. We were all devastated and felt terrible for Alex. I expected to find a player that was devastated as well but I was shocked to hear his response and reaction a day later. He handled the situation better than his coaches, team mates, and family. I guess I should not have been surprised knowing him as well as I do. He has always been a team first guy and his first response in a text was, “Thank you coach I appreciate your frustration but I’m just going to have to deal with it (surgery and season over) and help the team by being there for the them and trying to coach them. I just see this as my role on the team has changed, nothing else.”

In addition to working with Alex as a player for several years throughout his hockey career, I have also worked alongside him on many team volunteer service projects throughout our community. I have observed as he has grown and matured into a fine young man and feel he is nothing less than a first class person and citizen of high character. He has worked very hard academically and athletically during this time, and has worked equally hard to improve his leadership skills to be a more complete person each day. He is planning on attending St. Cloud University next fall.

As a player in our program, Alex has progressed from an average player to a state level player, as well as a team leader. This was going to be his year to play in Madison and play for his hometown. All of this was lost on February 1st playing the game he loves. He has won many accolades as a player and student but I have witnessed firsthand the following traits you receive in a young man like Alex which makes this such a blow to his team and team mates.

  • He raises the abilities of those around him.
  • He positively accepts advice and suggestions.
  • He is a very loyal team player in a group setting.
  • He takes responsibility and assumes accountability for his actions.
  • He has the ability to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive one.
  • He is very conscientious about the details and little things that complete the big picture.

Looking back, I have seen a very unique transformation from a teenager to a mature young adult of exceptional character and integrity. Alex has built a very solid foundation for his future as you will find in one short conversation with him. I can write this nomination with great confidence and pride knowing that this would be a well deserved award for him.

David Cox
Head Coach Boys Hockey
Northland Pines High School

Alex Sternhagen

Alex Sternhagen