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Lidstrom is leadership award finalist

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
NEW YORK – Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, Boston’s Zdeno Chara , Phoenix’s Shane Doan are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, the National Hockey League announced today.

The award recognizes an individual as a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. It honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes.

Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans through in compiling a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and the ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.

The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards™ that will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and on CBC in Canada (7 p.m. EDT).

Messier, a six-time Stanley Cup champion and 16-time NHL ® All-Star in his 25 NHL seasons, is widely viewed as one of the greatest sports leaders of all time. Among his numerous hockey and humanitarian honors, one of the most special was the naming of the Mark Messier Skyway at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey for his 15 years of dedication and commitment to help raise millions of dollars to benefit children with cancer and other serious blood disorders.

Following are the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone in alphabetical order by last name:

Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings: One of the greatest defensemen ever to play the position, Lidstrom is a finalist to win his seventh Norris Trophy. Having succeeded Steve Yzerman as Red Wings captain in 2006, he became the first European-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2007. He ranks fourth all-time on the franchise’s games-played and points lists – first in every major statistical category among defensemen. Lidstrom began this past season by meeting with military veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and visiting Churchill Elementary School as part of the Wings’ Community Relations Tour. Lidstrom also appeared at a local school as part of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation school youth hockey program. He serves as the spokesman for the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness Night and annual trip to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He was honored recently by the city in which he resides during the season, Novi, for his contributions to the community by re-naming the street outside the local arena to Nick Lidstrom Drive.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins: Since being named the 18th captain in franchise history to begin the 2006-07 season, Chara has led the Bruins’ steady climb back to the NHL’s elite level and two Northeast Division crowns in the last three years. Despite being among the League’s top 10 in ice time in each of his five seasons as Bruins captain, he has missed a total of only 12 games. A Norris Trophy finalist for the fourth time this season, he won the award in 2008-09. A long-time supporter and contributor to Right to Play, the international program that uses sport to improve the lives of children from disadvantaged areas; Chara this past season also took over the Bruins’ PJ Drive, which collects unused pajamas for local children in need. And he helped bring in unprecedented contributions to the Boston Bruins Cuts for a Cause – including the $1,500 a local restaurant owner bid to shave Chara’s head.

Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes: The last remaining player from the franchise’s days in Winnipeg, Doan has served as Coyotes captain since 2003. In recent seasons, he has kept a young team focused upon achieving unprecedented success even amid uncertainty about the club’s future in Arizona. The Coyotes have gone a combined 93-51-20 following Doan’s lead the past two seasons. In the Arizona community, Doan has long been considered one of the most selfless professional athletes in a city that is home to four major professional sports teams.  He serves as an ambassador for Coyotes Charities and works with a number of organizations -- including the United Blood Services, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Flashes of Hope and Children First Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade school for homeless children.

Previous winners of the Mark Messier Leadership Award

2006-07 – Chris Chelios, Detroit Red Wings
2007-08 – Mats Sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs
2008-09 – Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
2009-10 – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
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