Captain Anders Lee’s leadership is evident for the New York Islanders on the ice, but on Tuesday, he was honored by the NHL for his tremendous contributions both on and off the ice, earning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his outstanding work in the community, leadership and efforts for families battling cancer. 

To Lee, it’s a full team win. 

“To be honored in this way is really special. It says a lot about the community support, the support that we've had from the Islanders, my teammates and our fans,” Lee said. “It represents all the good going on.” 

As much as the captain attributes his support system, the King Clancy honor is a testament to Lee’s authenticity, passion and everyday efforts. Since 2017, Lee has gifted families affected by cancer with tickets to Islanders home games, and through the hectic regular season, he makes the time to visit them after home games, which is a ritual that brings fulfillment to Lee on a personal level.  

“I look forward to those encounters,” Lee said. “Getting to meet these families and these kids after games and spending some time with them, those relationships are ones I really value.”

Forging personal connections is a top priority for Lee. Whether it’s a phone call to check in, a text or a video message, Lee wants to make sure families know they’re not alone in the fight against cancer, doing everything he can to make a difference. 

“Once you get to know somebody and get to know these kids and have a chance to stay involved, I just want to be there for them in any way,” Lee said. “It means a lot to both sides.”

Anders Lee Wins King Clancy Trophy

There’s also a financial aspect. In seven years, $2.5M has been raised through Lee’s individual Kancer Jams and overall influence through the Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation. The raised funds, meaningful interactions and changed lives can be drawn back to Fenov Pierre-Louis, an inspiring young man battling cancer. 

Lee heard Fenov speak at a Kan Jam Event in 2016 through a video shared with him. Immediately, he was blown away by the strength, poise and positive outlook of a young man faced with such a difficult challenge. Lee was inspired to help Fenov and those in similar battles. 

They met in-person and 2017 and became fast friends. Lee refers to Fenov the most inspirational person he’s ever known, and a catalyst for the work he’s been able to do. 

"The courage that he had, I got to witness that and as I got to know him and become closer to him," Lee said. "I admired his composure through the tough times that he was going through."

Shortly before Fenov's passing in 2018, Lee sent Fenov and family on a trip to Denmark and Italy, but what meant most to the teenager was Anders driving him home from school, taking him to Dave and Busters to have fun and take his mind off things for a bit - a gesture that meant the world. 

Fenov and Lee shared the passion of wanting to give back. Fenov did everything he could near the end of his life to help Anders and his foundation as a guest speaker at multiple events, inspiring audiences with his bravery, positivity and strength. 

Lee is proud to carry on Fenov's legacy through the Fenov’s Scholars program, which offers scholarships to college-bound high school seniors who have demonstrated compassion and help to someone with cancer. 

Applications for this year’s award close on Monday

“He was an extremely positive kid, very bright,” Lee said. “He took his education very seriously and was doing his best to make a difference with the Kancer Jam Foundation to help families and kids that are in this position. We wanted to honor him with those scholarships.”

Lee’s Islanders teammates joined him in September 2023 for the first Kan Jam since the Covid-19 pandemic, raising over $155,000 in the process including a personal $30,000 donation from Anders. Sharing such an important cause with his teammates carried extra significance.

“It speaks volumes to what our group is and who we are,” Lee said. “We care about this kind of stuff. These guys care and that's why they showed up to help me put this on and I'm really grateful for their time.” 

Lee joins a very special circle of players in franchise history to have been recognized by the NHL for their humanitarian contributions to the community. Doug Weight (2011) and Bryan Trottier (1989) have earned the King Clancy, while Travis Hamonic earned the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2017 before the honor was merged with the King Clancy. 

It’s a high honor for the second-longest captain in Islanders history, but the recognition isn't the reason behind Lee's efforts. His genuine effort, selflessness and devotion make the King Clancy Memorial Trophy so well-deserved. 

“It represents all the good things that we've been able to do,” Lee said. “Being able to carry on Fenov’s legacy, being able to meet kids and families in our area, start relationships with them and help them out in any way we can throughout the season and throughout the year, it’s really special. It means a lot.”

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