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Captain community

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin’s hockey resume is unlike that of any others in Vancouver Canucks history.

The 35-year-old forward leads the franchise in games played (1,166), assists (748), points (970), and plus/minus (+214). If there were a statistic tracking community impact, he’d lead in that as well.

Henrik, who has served as Canucks captain since the 2010-11 season, is widely recognized as a humanitarian, generously donating his time and funds to children in their adopted province of British Columbia. He is the face of the Jeans Day provincial fundraiser, makes frequent unpublicized hospital visits to brighten the lives of children dealing with serious illnesses, and opened Sedin Corner, a 14-person suite at Rogers Arena donated exclusively to charity groups for each home game. One of his most notable contributions was a joint $1.5 million dollar donation, alongside his wife Johanna and brother Daniel and sister-in-law Marinette, given in 2010 to build a new children’s hospital.

This season, the Sedin Family Foundation established Clubhouse 36, which provides a safe, structured out-of-school program for kids aged 6-12 to learn, build confidence and have fun.

While no community impact stat exists, the NHL bestows the King Clancy Memorial Trophy to “the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and makes a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”

Henrik Sedin is the latest recipient, receiving the award Wednesday evening at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The 15-year-veteran took the stage alongside son Valter; he thanked his teammates and acknowledged the past winners as players and people he’s always looked up to, before beginning his speech.

“I truly believe the work we do off the ice is as important and impactful as what we do on the ice. Stan Smyl, Orland Kurtenbach, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund really set the standard in our city for what we do on the ice and off the ice.

“I’m grateful to play in Vancouver and in the NHL, I’m truly privileged and I want to thank everyone for the support they’ve given us throughout our careers.”

Henrik’s legacy will be that of a consummate leader, always putting others ahead of himself, from the children in British Columbia who benefit from his generosity to his teammates he mentors and supports in one of the more demanding hockey markets in the NHL.

“You look at Henrik and Daniel,” said Canucks forward Jake Virtanen, “they even say themselves, the first couple of years they were okay, but they didn’t really do too much. But they learned the game each and every day…and look at them now. You’ve got to come every day and be willing to learn and that’s what they’ve taught me.”

Added Canucks GM Jim Benning: “He’s as mentally tough as any player in the league and it looks like he’s not slowing down.”

Not slowing down on the ice, or with his benevolence.

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