DETROIT – The National Hockey League announced today that Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is the recipient of the 2012-13 NHL Foundation Player Award. The award recognizes the NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the Zetterberg Foundation to help fund the creation of three water stations in Kemba, Ethiopia, and provide 1,900 people with clean water for a lifetime. This donation will enable more children in the village to attend school as opposed to spending their days walking hours to get water for their families.
"I'm honored to receive the NHL Foundation Player Award," Zetterberg said. "The NHL's $25,000 donation will be matched by the Zetterberg Foundation to provide water to the village of Kemba. There are a lot of NHL players that do great charitable work within NHL communities and around the world, so I'm extremely humbled to be selected as this year's award winner."
Zetterberg and his wife Emma give back to the Metro Detroit community through numerous initiatives as well as international causes in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Nepal. Zetterberg hosts children’s charities, including Metro Detroit area children’s hospitals and mentoring nonprofits, at each Red Wings home game during the regular season in the Zetterberg Foundation Suite. Zetterberg also funds a high school hockey scholarship each year and underwrites the Hockey Weekly High School All-Star Banquet.
As the team spokesman for the Red Wings annual Smoke Detector Collection, Zetterberg personally matches all donations. Working with area fire departments, more than 23,000 smoke detectors have been distributed to low-income and physically-disabled residents, who could otherwise not afford one or be able to install one in their home. When a local fire fighter passed away in the line of duty last month, Zetterberg contributed to the team fundraiser helping the Wings raise more than $15,000 for the fire fighter’s family.
Internationally, Zetterberg and his wife built the Chige Primary School in Kemba, Ethiopia, in cooperation with Action Aid Ethiopia. The school consists of four classrooms and gives 225 children in Kemba access to a primary school education. The Belta Telo Middle School currently has 780 kids sharing four small classrooms; however, thanks to a donation from the Zetterberg Foundation, construction to add a block of four new classrooms on to the school has begun. They also support microloan programs in Ethiopia and Guatemala to provide women with the opportunity to start their own business and work themselves out of poverty. In addition, the Zetterberg Foundation has financed and built six houses for former debt slaves in Nepal.
In the 15-year history of the NHL Foundation Player Award, Detroit joins Buffalo as the only teams to have two players receive this honor. Red Wings forward Darren McCarty won the award in 2003. Zetterberg is the first Swedish player to win the NHL Foundation Player Award. Each NHL Club submitted a nomination for the NHL Foundation Player Award and the winner was selected by a judging panel.
Previous NHL Foundation Player Award Winners
Year: Winner, Team
2012: Mike Fisher, Nashville
2011: Dustin Brown, Los Angeles
2010: Ryan Miller, Buffalo
2009: Rick Nash, Columbus
2008: Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay
2008: Trevor Linden, Vancouver
2007: Joe Sakic, Colorado
2006: Marty Turco, Dallas
2004: Jarome Iginla, Calgary
2003: Darren McCarty, Detroit
2002: Ron Francis, Carolina
2001: Olaf Kolzig, Washington
2000: Adam Graves, NY Rangers
1999: Rob Ray, Buffalo
1998: Kelly Chase, St. Louis