NEW YORK (May 4, 2016) – Forward Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, forward John Tavares of the New York Islanders and defenseman Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2016 NHL Awards – hosted by actor Will Arnett – at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, in alphabetical order:
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Ovechkin, Washington’s captain since January 2010, reached the 50-goal milestone for the seventh time this season to power the team to the Presidents’ Trophy as well as a franchise-record 56 wins. Off the ice, he expanded his relationship with the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA), hosting nearly 60 children and adolescents during a unique skating session in October. An official spokesman for ASHA, Ovechkin received Washingtonian Magazine’s “Washingtonian of the Year” award for his work with special needs children. He also continued his Ovi’s Crazy 8s program, which was created in 2006 to provide Capitals season tickets for Most Valuable Kids and ASHA.
John Tavares, New York Islanders
The Islanders’ captain since 2013-14, Tavares led the club to its second consecutive 100 point season in 2015-16. He also continued his Teammates Program, which has provided tickets and VIP game experiences for sick and underprivileged children – from Special Olympics and Ronald McDonald House, among others – for the past five campaigns. To date, Tavares personally has spent more than $32,000 to create these special game experiences. He also spearheaded the Islanders’ fundraising for their Military Appreciation Night in November, offering a $5,000 donation to help the team host more than 300 active and retired service members at a game.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Weber, Nashville’s captain since 2010-11, reached the 20-goal and 50-point milestones for the third time to guide the Predators to their second straight playoff berth. He also is a leader with several charitable organizations both in Nashville and his hometown. Weber – along with teammate Pekka Rinne – started the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, which raises money and donates tickets to patients at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. That initiative has contributed more than $700,000 since its inception in 2013-14. In his hometown of Sicamous, B.C., Weber partners with the Sicamous Shootout to host a golf tournament in support of the BC Cancer Society.
Presented in honor of one of hockey’s great leaders, the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award was first handed out in 2007.
The three finalists for NHL Trophies are being announced by NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA Sports in Canada during pregame programming for the Stanley Cup Playoffs through Saturday, May 7. The series of announcements continues on Thursday, May 5, when the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award will be unveiled.
A full lineup of presenters and entertainment for the 2016 NHL Awards – as well as information on broadcasting, tickets, and hospitality and travel packages through PrimeSport – will be announced at a future date. In addition, fans can tweet about the event using the official hashtag #NHLAwards.