Notre Dame's Lorenz Sets Example On and Off the Ice
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
The 2011-12 season certainly hasn't gone as expected for a Notre Dame team that, a year ago, played in the NCAA Frozen Four.
Losing six of their final seven games of the regular season, the Fighting Irish now slump into the CCHA playoffs, trying to find the level of play that led to nationally televised wins this season against Boston College, Minnesota, Michigan, and Michigan State — not to mention, a road victory against Minnesota-Duluth, the defending national champions.
It's a cliche, but "rollercoaster ride" is an appropriate term for the 2011-12 season in South Bend. But off the ice, co-captain Sean Lorenz has been particularly well-equipped to put the inevitable ups and downs of the regular season in perspective.
The only senior among the Notre Dame defensive corps, Lorenz has overseen the team's community service efforts this season, organizing countless activities for area youth groups, as well as charity events for a Junior Diabetes Walk and a Kids Fighting Obesity event.
And as a result, the Littleton, Co., native is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award — alongside Chad Billins (Ferris State), Jack Connolly (Minnesota-Duluth), Sean Duddy (Ohio State), Ryan Flanigan (Merrimack), Scott Greenham (Alaska), Jack Maclellan (Brown), Cody Reichard (Miami), Keir Ross (Cornell) and Paul Weisgarger (Air Force).
"I wasn't expecting [to be a finalist], but when I found it, it was a great honor," said a humble Lorenz, the sixth Notre Dame player to be nominated, joining past winner David Brown, Mark Van Guilder, Erik Condra, Jordan Pearce and Calle Ridderwall. "Giving back to those less fortunate — I think that's a very important ideal."
Lorenz led an attempt this year, on behalf of the Notre Dame team, to adopt a three-year old child with lymphoma, a form of cancer that develops from cells of the immune system. As it turns out, Lorenz's dedication to helping children was borne from a formative family experience.
Explained the senior defenseman, "I actually have a second cousin, his name's David, and he had several strokes when he was a baby. He has learning disabilities and things of those nature. When I see him at home, it puts things in perspective. He idolizes the idea of a hockey player at Notre Dame. When I talk to him, it brings me down to earth. It makes you humble and appreciate the things in life. To see what he goes through is truly meaningful for me.
"It definitely puts things in perspective when you see kids with autism and try to understand what they go through — and how lucky we are to play the sport that we love at such a high level. It's very touching, that's for sure."
In addition to his continued community involvement, Lorenz has certainly demonstrated similar consistency on the ice as well. As a junior, he was named the CCHA's Defensive Defenseman of the Year and he has played in over 150 games for Notre Dame, on pace to finish in the top 10 for most career games played in South Bend.
Of course, jokes Lorenz, the kids whom he aspires to help typically don't care much about the senior's on-ice accomplishments.
"To be honest, it usually comes down to just running around, playing tag," said Lorenz, a 2008 fourth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild. "They just want to do normal kid things — being able to kick a soccer goal around for hours. That's what they love to do. Sure, they ask questions about hockey and things like that, but really, they just want to play and have fun. And do something they don't necessarily get to do that much."
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner of the Senior Class Award on April 7, at the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa.