The Columbus Blue Jackets announced during tonight's regular-season finale against the Boston Bruins that Nick Foligno has been named the recipient of the club's 2018-19 Community MVP Award, presented by Accenture, which recognizes the player who best exemplifies service, dedication and leadership. This is the third time he has received the award after also earning honor in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons. To mark the selection, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation has made a $5,000 donation in Nick's name to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
In addition to joining his teammates for visits to Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Nick hosts numerous meet-and-greets at Nationwide Arena with kids and families in need of distraction from challenging circumstances. On the ice, Nick's goal production correlates with a donation to the Janis Foligno Foundation thanks to the Papa John's Foligno 500 for which $500 is pledged for every goal Nick scores. Away from the rink, Nick and his family also participated in the Central Ohio Congenital Heart Walk and the JDRF One Walk in support of Team Emilia (Kekalainen).
In his adopted hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Nick serves as honorary chair of NEO Kids Foundation, Northeastern Ontario's hub for specialized children's care located at Health Sciences North in Greater Sudbury. The goal of NEO Kids is to ensure as many children as possible can stay in Northeastern Ontario to get the care they need, in a child-and youth-centered environment.
A tireless champion for the cause, Nick led the way in organizing the third annual "NHL vs. Docs" hockey game and the first-time "Evening with NHL Legends" event. In addition to participation by Nick's brother, Marcus (Minnesota Wild), and a handful of other NHLers with local connections, Nick recruited Blue Jackets teammates Josh Anderson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Scott Harrington, Boone Jenner and Seth Jones to travel to Sudbury for the charitable festivities. To date, "NHL vs. Docs" and its related events have raised $440,000 for the NEO Kids Foundation and its goal of expanding the pediatric outpatient facility in Sudbury.
Nick's commitment in the area of pediatric health care extends well beyond his work in Northeastern Ontario. In the fall of 2016, Nick and his wife, Janelle, committed $1 million to Nationwide Children's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital in support of pediatric congenital heart care in honor of their daughter, Milana. The $500,000 gift to Nationwide Children's Hospital was directed to the Center for Cardiovascular Research, which now houses the Foligno Family Cardiovascular Research Lab. The $500,000 gift to Boston Children's Hospital established funds to support surgical and fetal cardiac research.
LEARN MORE: Community MVP, pres. by Accenture
The team has recognized a player for outstanding community service since the 2002-03 season. Past winners are: 2002-03 - Tyler Wright; 2003-04 - Luke Richardson; 2005-06 - Manny Malhotra; 2006-07 - Jody Shelley; 2007-08 - Dan Fritsche; 2008-09 - Rick Nash; 2009-10 - R.J. Umberger; 2010-11 - Jared Boll; 2011-12 - Marc Methot; 2012-13 - Derek MacKenzie; 2013-14 - Derek MacKenzie; 2014-15 - Nick Foligno ; 2015-16 - David Clarkson; 2016-17 - Nick Foligno; 2017-18 - Sergei Bobrovsky .