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Best Aero Houston 2007 - Ryan Stokes

Ryan Stokes is a tough, physical defense man for the Houston Aeros, not afraid to pile up the penalty minutes or take on the other team's banger in a fight. But he also has another title: Reigning Connect Four Champ at the Aeros' Power Playroom. The playroom is in Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Stokes is a constant visitor, taking on all comers in Connect Four but also giving time to the patients. He's been active in educational projects, especially an anti-­bullying effort in HISD. (Who better to help you take on a bully than a burly hockey defense man?) The Ontario native may eventually follow fellow defender Derek Boogaard up to the NHL's Minnesota Wild, meaning maybe some of those sick kids will finally get a chance to win at Connect Four. Not that they're complaining, of course.

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