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Avid hockey fan Will Arnett hosts 2016 NHL Awards

Actor, Maple Leafs follower is excited to be master of ceremonies live from Las Vegas on June 22

by NHL.com @nhl / NHL.com

When actor Will Arnett hosts the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 22, he won't be there as just a master of ceremonies, he will be there as a hockey fan as well.

"I'm going to be a bystander … a part of the audience like everyone else," Arnett, who was officially announced as the host Tuesday, said of the show which will be held at The Joint, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's state-of-the-art concert and entertainment venue.

The Canadian-born Arnett is a follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and friends with Hall of Fame member and Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan, but when it comes to meeting hockey players, the five-time Emmy nominee admits he is in awe.

"I guess I only really get starstruck by hockey players," Arnett told NHL.com. "I remember I went to the Olympics in Vancouver with Shanny, and I made him keep introducing me to hockey players. I would be like 'start a conversation with [Mats] Sundin,' and he'd be like 'no man' and I would say 'just say hi to him,' and he would, and I would say 'oh my God, Mats Sundin,' pretending like I didn't know who it was."

There will plenty of NHL stars on hand at the Hard Rock Casino, with 11 awards being presented.

The 2016 NHL Awards will honor the best regular-season players in a wide range of categories, including most valuable player (Hart Trophy), outstanding goaltender (Vezina Trophy), outstanding defenseman (Norris Trophy) and outstanding rookie (Calder Trophy); the Ted Lindsay Award, which is presented annually to the "most outstanding player" in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the of National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), will also be awarded.

Finalists for each award will be announced daily beginning Wednesday.

Arnett will next star in Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows," which comes out on June 3. He also currently stars in Netflix's "Flaked," a show he created, wrote and produced. Next year, his iconic voice will return for The Lego Batman Movie from Warner Bros.

He said he can't wait for the NHL Awards.

"Over the last couple of years, I've developed a bit of a relationship with the NHL," Arnett said. "I'm a massive hockey fan. My No. 1 team was not in the playoffs, but I'm an avid watcher and watch as many of the games as I can. The NHL wanted people who are legit fans to participate in this kind of event and they decided to come my way. I'm very excited by prospects of doing this."

This is not the first time Arnett will be part of the NHL Awards. As a guest on the show in 2012, he spoofed the discipline videos of Shanahan, who was then the Senior Vice President of Player Safety.

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But Arnett now has nothing but praise for the job Shanahan is doing at the helm of the Maple Leafs.

"I think the Leafs future looks really bright, Arnett said. "I think Brendan brought in so many great people. Mike Babcock is arguably the best coach in the game right now, and may go down as one of the great hockey coaches ever. And bringing him in and [general manager] Lou Lamoriello, who is obviously a proven champion and a great hockey mind and put together some many awesome teams in New Jersey … they are putting a great team together."

Arnett is so confident in the Maple Leafs, he's planning a different type of awards show for 2017.

"I'm excited to host the 2016 NHL Awards because we all know in 2017 I'll be too busy celebrating the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup," Arnett said.

A full lineup of presenters and entertainment, information on broadcasting and tickets, as well as 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.

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