In his first season in Charlotte, Franco brought with him the Friends Of Franco program - in which he collaborated with the Checkers to donate four tickets to each home game to veterans and military families. After the game Franco would go out of his way to meet the recipients of that night’s tickets.
The program allowed Franco to connect to a community close to his own heart. The 27-year-old is a West Point graduate and an active duty member of the Army - becoming the first Army athlete to ever sign a professional hockey contract in 2020.
Franco is now one of 32 finalists of the AHL’s 2022-23 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League on Thursday. May 4.
- 2021-22: Checkers VP of Corporate Partnerships Mary Grams
- 2019-20: Derek Sheppard
- 2018-19: Zack Stortini
- 2017-18: Philip Samuelsson
- 2016-17: Kyle Hagel
- 2015-16: Kyle Hagel
- 2014-15: Kyle Hagel (Yanick Dupre Memorial Award winner)
- 2013-14: Matt Marquardt
- 2012-13: Sean Dolan
- 2011-12: Bobby Sanguinetti
- 2010-11: Mike Murphy