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Sedins' contributions with Canucks result in King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Charity work by retired forwards symbolizes Declaration of Principles

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

There are no moments that stand out, no particular instances of leadership or commitment to service or humanitarian contributions, examples of humility or perseverance. It's not because there weren't those moments or those instances or those examples in the careers of Vancouver Canucks forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin. It's because that was the everyday for the Sedin twins.

It's who they are. It's who they've always been. It wasn't about a moment or two. It was about each day, each week, each season, each dollar given, each hospital visit, each pick-me-up for a teammate, each time facing the difficult questions.

That's why it's fitting that, after announcing their retirement at the end of the 2017-2018 season, the Sedins were awarded the 2018 King Clancy Memorial Trophy on Wednesday, for the things they did for 17 seasons in the NHL, and the same things they expect to continue to do beyond their time in professional hockey.

 

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"It's not because they want attention," said Trevor Linden, the Canucks president of hockey operations and former teammate of the Sedins. "They don't ask for it. They don't look for it. They just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. That's what special about them."

For Henrik, this is the second time that he has won the King Clancy, making him the first two-time winner in the history of the award. He also won in 2016, for the work he and Daniel have done with the Sedin Family Foundation and funding Clubhouse 36, an afterschool program for at-risk students.

"You want to help out," Daniel Sedin said. "It's not for the public to see. I think it's about helping out, and it doesn't matter if it becomes public or you do it in the quiet."

That was evident back in 2010, when the Sedins decided to make a $1.5 million joint contribution to BC Children's Hospital, a donation they thought would just slip by. The money, intended to help build a children's hospital and expand medical services, was not intended to be publicized.

They had to be persuaded to make the gift public, mostly to spark donations from others, which it did.

It's something that still stuns Linden, even eight years later.

"These guys are the most humble, down-to-Earth, just everyday kind of guys you'll meet," Linden said. "They weren't even going to do any sort of announcement [for the gift]; they had to be kind of pushed into making an announcement on their behalf. You talk about humility, and these guys are the poster boys for that, for sure."

Video: SAP Stats: A statistical look at the Sedins' careers

But it goes well beyond the service and the contributions to the community.

The King Clancy Memorial Trophy has come to symbolize the NHL's Declaration of Principles, which values perseverance and leadership, humility and inclusion, as well as service to others. And it is there the Sedins continue to shine, through the at-risk youth and sick children they have helped, through the playgrounds and play spaces they have built, and through the teammates they have touched and led and inspired.

"I think we always tried to treat people the way we wanted to get treated, tried to help out young guys and just be real positive coming to the rink," Daniel Sedin said. "I think that's the main thing for us, just coming in with a smile on our face. We get to do something we love every day. You're going to lose some games and you're going to have some tough times, but you should always be happy coming to the rink, spread the positive energy."

That was evident in the outpouring of messages of love and support that came on their retirement, with former teammates naming the Sedins among the best they had ever played with, on the ice and as people.

It's what they were taught, by the veteran Canucks they met when they came to the United States and the NHL from Sweden - especially captain Markus Naslund and defenseman Mattias Ohlund - and from their parents and two older brothers while growing up.

That was what was so notable, as Daniel Sedin discussed their charitable endeavors and their commitment to British Columbia. He credited the Canucks, the organization, those who came before, barely taking any credit for himself and his brother.

But it was not always easy for the Sedins.

They struggled. They didn't always seem like they might live up to their acquisition cost, the No. 2 and No. 3 picks in the 1999 NHL Draft, with Vancouver trading up to take them together.

They did not bow to that, nor to the criticism that came their way over the years, the way their game was undervalued and the way some fans did not appreciate them.

Video: ARI@VAN: Sedins steal the show in last home game

They relied on each other, on their teammates too, but most on each other.

"We could talk to each other," Daniel Sedin said. "But also leaning on some older guys on the team and heeding the support from our teammates. I think we always had a tough time on the ice, but I hope the older guys and our teammates really appreciate how hard we worked and our attitudes. Coming to the rink we always tried to be positive and that was our way to get through things, to keep a positive attitude, just knowing that things would get better if we kept working hard."

They did, and it did; Henrik and Daniel won gold at the 2006 Olympics in Turin with Sweden, and then the Art Ross Trophy in back-to-back years, with Henrik taking it in 2009-2010 and Daniel in 2010-2011. In 2011, they led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins.

Henrik won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player in 2010. Daniel finished second in 2011 to Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry.

"Both of them have had such amazing careers on the ice," Linden said. "They've done equally as much off the ice."

And they intend to continue, with the Sedins planning to live in Vancouver for at least the next few years, raising their families, presumably in the way they were raised - by their parents and brothers, by the Canucks.

"I love these guys," Linden said. "I had the great fortune to play [with them] at the tail end of my career, but just loved playing with these guys and just love them as people.

"I think that's the biggest thing; you talk to our training staff down there, you talk to anyone who's played with these guys, and I think they're just authentic. They've never tried to be something they're not, people they're not. They just know who they are and they're just real, and I think that goes a long way."

All the way to the King Clancy and, likely, the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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