Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators have been named finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. The award is given annually "to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to the team, on and off the ice, during the regular season."
Messier solicited suggestions from club and League personnel and fans, but the former Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks captain makes the final selection of the three finalists and the winner.
The award will be presented at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 22.
Ovechkin has been the Capitals captain since January 2010. He had his seventh 50-goal season in 2015-16, helping the Capitals set franchise records with 56 wins and 120 points en route to the Presidents' Trophy. 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 has provided Capitals season tickets for Most Valuable Kids and ASHA since 2006.
Tavares has been the Islanders captain since 2013. In 2015-16, he led the tearm to at least 100 points for the second straight season. He also continued his Teammates program, which has provided tickets and VIP game experiences for sick and underprivileged children the past five seasons.
Tavares 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 Islanders host more than 300 active and retired service members at a game.
Weber has been the Predators captain since 2010. He had at least 20 goals and 50 points for the third time in his career to help the Predators reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second season in a row. He also is a leader with several charitable organizations in Nashville and his hometown of Sicamous, British Columbia. 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 in Nashville. That initiative has contributed more than $700,000 since its inception in 2013.
He also partners with the Sicamous Shootout to host a golf tournament in support of the British Columbia Cancer Society.