NEW YORK -- Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds and Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams are the three finalists for the 2018 19 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, presented "to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey," the National Hockey League announced today.
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from team and League personnel 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 revealed Wednesday, June 19, during the 2019 NHL Awards™ presented by Bridgestone at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, in alphabetical order:
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames
Playing his 13th NHL season, Giordano recorded career highs in both assists and points (17-57-74 in 78 GP) to lead the Flames to their first conference title since 1989-90. The 35-year-old defenseman also topped the League with a career-best +39 rating while logging the most minutes of any Calgary skater (1,890:39). Away from the rink, the Flames captain continued to make an impact in the local community and beyond. He launched "Team Giordano" - in partnership with the Calgary Board of Education - in 2014 to promote improved physical fitness and academics, as well as leadership development, at five high-needs schools in the area. That initiative has raised $400,000, impacting the lives of 2,900 students. Giordano also participated in other community endeavors, including the team's literacy program and the Calgary Pride Parade.
Wayne Simmonds, RW, Nashville Predators
Simmonds reached the 800-game milestone while splitting the season between the Predators and Philadelphia Flyers (17-13-30 in 79 GP). While he finished the season in Nashville, the bulk of Simmonds' off-ice work took place in Philadelphia. The 30-year-old forward participated as a board member of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF) for the sixth consecutive year, visiting community rinks and engaging students. He served as honorary chairman of the foundation's annual golf tournament - its largest fundraiser - for the fourth straight year. Simmonds also worked with the planning committee in hosting the organization's Willie O'Ree Skills Weekend, writing welcome letters to each participant. In addition to his efforts with ESYHF, Simmonds continued his "Wayne's Road Hockey Warriors" ball hockey fundraiser in his hometown of Scarborough, Ont., and donated a private Flyers suite to military personnel as part of his "Wayne's Warriors" program.
Justin Williams, RW, Carolina Hurricanes
Named Carolina's captain on Sept. 13, Williams was instrumental in guiding a young Hurricanes squad back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008-09. The 37-year-old forward - who reached the 50 point milestone for the seventh time (23-30-53 in 82 GP) - spearheaded the franchise's "Storm Surge" celebration, which united both the team and fans. A veteran of 18 NHL seasons as well as a three-time Stanley Cup champion, Williams also mentored the youth hockey community in North Carolina, where he helped coach the Junior Hurricanes U10 team and assisted during local girls' hockey events. Williams' efforts extended to his hometown of Cobourg, Ont., where he hosted the annual summer "Justin Williams Skills Development Camp" in support of charity.
Presented in honor of one of hockey's great leaders, the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award was first handed out in 2006-07.
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 Sunday, April 28. The series of announcements continues Thursday, April 25, when the three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award will be unveiled.
2019 NHL Awards™ presented by Bridgestone
The NHL Awards™ returns to Las Vegas this summer at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The 2019 NHL Awards™ presented by Bridgestone will be held Wednesday, June 19, at Mandalay Bay Events Center. It marks the first year that the NHL Awards™ will be held at the resort's sports and entertainment venue as well as the first time that Bridgestone will serve as the presenting sponsor of the event. NBCSN and Sportsnet will broadcast the 2019 NHL Awards™ presented by Bridgestone live in the United States and Canada, respectively, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Tickets to the 2019 NHL Awards™ presented by Bridgestone are on sale to the general public at www.nhl.com/awardstickets. This ticket opportunity is available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last.
This will be the 11th year of a successful partnership between Las Vegas and the League and the 10th time that the NHL will honor the best hockey players in the world and the top performances of the season in Las Vegas. Prior Las Vegas venues that have hosted the NHL Awards™ include Palms Hotel (2009-11); Encore at Wynn Las Vegas (2012 and 2014); MGM Grand Garden Arena (2015); The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (2016 and 2018); and T Mobile Arena (2017).
A full lineup of presenters and entertainment will be announced at a future date. Fans can tweet about the event using the official hashtag #NHLAwards.