MONTREAL - After 12 seasons with the Canadiens, goals and assists only scratch the surface of what Saku Koivu is all about. At the NHL Awards in Toronto on Thursday night, Koivu's true impact was given its due.
Koivu became the first Canadiens player to ever earn the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, recognizing the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community. Awarded since the 1987-88 season when the Flames' Lanny McDonald was the first-ever winner, the recognition of Koivu was only a matter of time.
After his courageous battle with cancer in 2001-02, the Canadiens captain has continued to be an inspiration to cancer patients around the globe. Among his proudest achievements was the creation of the Saku Koivu Foundation in 2002, which has since collected over $2.5 million including the acquisition of a PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/X-ray computed tomography) scan machine for the Montreal General Hospital.
Countless children have been touched by Koivu's involvement, and he continues to regularly meet with cancer patients who send him countless cards and letters each day. The Canadiens' spokesperson for the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, he was also honored for his commitment to cancer research in 2003-04 when Koivu was the first recipient of the Jean Beliveau Trophy in 2003-04, honoring the Habs player who had the biggest impact in the community.
Koivu also won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2001-02, in recognition of his courageous battle back from cancer.