The annual award, the association's highest honor, is given annually to a member of the hockey community who has made significant contributions toward the advancement of professional minor-league hockey and has continued to diligently serve the sport.
"Being recognized by the Professional Hockey Players' Association and receiving this award is a tremendous honor and one I am truly thankful for," Julien said. "Our collective goal at the PHPA was to improve the relationships between all parties involved in the game of hockey. I am proud that the vision we had for the Association became a reality and that many of the ideas and major initiatives we worked on helped advance relations between the leagues, management, and players."
Since its inception in 1967, the PHPA has served as the union representing players in the American Hockey League, ECHL and Central Hockey League.
"There are very few people who have been as instrumental in advancing the Association and its members' rights as Claude Julien," PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon said. "We shared a common vision as to where the PHPA could go, and his passion and commitment were significant in allowing us to create a strong foundation on which we have built today's PHPA."
Julien spent most of his 14 professional seasons playing in the minor leagues. In 1986-87 with the Fredericton Express of the American Hockey League, he was named the team's PHPA player representative, and served as president of the player executive committee from 1989-92. As president, Julien initiated discussions toward an education program for players, now known as the Career Enhancement Program, and helped set up a severance trust fund for players, as well as a licensing program to help protect player likeness rights.
Julien will be presented with the award during the offseason. Previous winners include Doug Messier (2008), Don Cherry and Ron MacLean (2009), Arlo Goodwin (2010), Darcy Regier (2011), and Ron Jaros (2012).