Deryk Engelland of the Vegas Golden Knights won the Mark Messier Leadership award, presented to the NHL player who exemplifies great leadership qualities on and off the ice and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey, at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Wednesday.
"Just to be up there with Mark Messier, for what he's done for the game, it's a huge honor," Engelland said. "I think every guy in our sport wants to be in the community they're playing in and get out there and do what they can, whether it's charities or schools. I'm sure there's a handful of guys, just on our team, that could be up here. Honestly, it's an honor."
Engelland, 36, had NHL career highs in assists (18) and points (23) for the Golden Knights. He was a fixture in the Las Vegas community following the mass shooting of Oct. 1 and made a passionate pregame speech at the home opener Oct. 10.
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"Looking back, no matter what I do in my career, that's probably going to be the biggest moment of my hockey career was that night," Engelland said. "I was working on it for about four, five days. I didn't want to [mess] it up. It was an honor to speak in front of a great city and a great community. …
"As bad as it was, it got us embedded in the community. The guys really took it upon themselves to keep winning for the people affected in the city. The excitement after every goal, every game, you could really feel it looking at every guy in our locker room."
Video: Deryk Engelland wins Mark Messier Leadership Award
Engelland and his wife, Melissa, started a program inviting those affected by the shooting to Golden Knights home games throughout the season, meeting and thanking each guest after the games. He partnered with Ronald McDonald House and Three Square to help children and families in need, and continued a five-year relationship with local firefighters that has raised more than $40,000 for children who cannot afford to play hockey.
Engelland, who was an alternate captain, accepted the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly when the Golden Knights won the Western Conference Final this season. They lost to the Washington Capitals in five games in the Stanley Cup Final.
that did a tremendous job putting the group together. For myself, I know there are a lot of guys in our locker room that could be here right now in my place. When we look back on this season, it's going to be special."
Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, 29, and Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler, 31, were the other finalists. The winner is chosen by Messier.