Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference was named Wednesday as the recipient of the 2014 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, presented annually by the NHL to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
Ference will be honored at the 2014 NHL Awards, to be held at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on June 24 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC).
Ference's work in the community encompassed a variety of community initiatives, including several projects on behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. In addition to these endeavors, the 35-year-old defenseman was involved in many of his own charity initiatives, most notably the November Project, the Hope Mission Shelter, and leading the way on a Christmas toy delivery to the Stollery Children's Hospital.
"You just make a choice to get involved," Ference said. "The calendar may get a little full, but it's all positive. ... It's an extreme honor."
The November Project is a free program in which people of all ages and abilities gather in a group once a week to partake in various forms of physical activity at public locations.
The Hope Mission Shelter provides crisis services for those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in Edmonton, including three meals during the day along with overnight shelter for those in need for a safe place to sleep. Ference pledged to make a personal donation of $1 per seat at Rexall Place for a total donation of $16,839 to the shelter, in addition to raising another $1,800 to help Edmonton's homeless get back on their feet.
In early December, Ference took it upon himself to brighten spirits of the community's most vulnerable children during the holiday season, leading the Oilers in an afternoon of shopping for gifts for the patients at the Stollery Children's Hospital and delivering the gifts with his teammates to the children.
Ference also has been involved in a number of "Go Green" initiatives, an anti-bullying campaign, and marched in the Edmonton Pride parade as a representative of You Can Play, which is dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in sports.
He offered this advice to younger NHL players: "Take a moment and figure out what matters to you, and get involved in causes you care about."