Ohio State senior defender Tommy Parran reaches for a puck during the second period of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan on Jan. 11. Ohio State lost 2-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The Lantern

When thinking about the qualities of a hockey player, some may include athleticism, toughness or their ability to be a team player. While these all help describe Ohio State senior defenseman Tommy Parran, one quality is missing: service orientation.

The Shaker Heights, Ohio, native is a finalist for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award for his performance on and off the ice. According to hockeyhumanitarian.org, the award goes to “a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team, but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism.”

Parran was one of 17 players nominated, including Ohio State women’s hockey senior forward Jacyn Reeves, and is the first player from the Ohio State men’s hockey team to be a top-five finalist.

Parran is the director of service for the Ohio State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, earning an Ohio State scholar-athlete and has Academic All-Big Ten honors.

Parran said he is genuinely interested in helping his community, but he is not alone with this mindset.

“I owe a lot to my committee members,” Parran said. “We have a great portion of the student-athlete body that consistently volunteers. I might get some of the credit for that, but I really am excited for what the future brings for the committee.”

Before Ohio State, Parran was involved with community service in high school at St. Ignatius in Cleveland. On Fridays, instead of being in class, they performed community service in the mornings at nursing homes, an urban community school in the inner city and homeless shelters.

Parran noted that some of his friends in high school started a group that went and ate lunch with people at the homeless shelter across from their school a few times a week.

His high school service kickstarted one of the biggest parts of his life.

Parran wasn’t always involved with service at the start of his career at Ohio State, but he said he “made it a point to have that as part of my life” in his junior and senior years.

“I’m just really proud of him, I think it speaks volumes for what we’re all about,” men’s hockey head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We have so many things to be involved with here and Tommy’s gone out of his way to be involved in a lot of different things.”

Through his involvement with service at Ohio State, Parran has had opportunities to travel to Thailand during summer 2017. He went with a group from the Ohio State athletics department and said he experienced something that was life-changing.

“I had the opportunity not only to teach them English and healthy living habits, but also to show them that their athletic talents could give them things in life like education and a chance at a better future,” Parran said.  

Parran said that as an athlete, the amount of time spent training, even during the offseason, does not usually allow for athletes to have the opportunity to study abroad. But he said he received a scholarship to serve abroad during the summer.

Rohlik said Parran cares about not only his team, but about helping others.

“It’s total leadership,” Rohlik said. “Hockey’s going to end someday and the relationships he’s made and the experience he has is going to take care of him for the rest of his life.”

As for what is next for the senior defenseman, Parran is focused on winning the fast-approaching championships. He is also considering professional hockey and might come back for law school at Ohio State, as he’s been studying for the LSAT.

The winner for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award will be announced during a ceremony on April 12 during NCAA’s Men’s Frozen Four weekend in Buffalo, New York.