SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) defenseman Brent Burns (@Burnzie88) is the recipient of the 2014-15 NHL Foundation Award. The NHL Foundation Player Award is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player "who applies the core values of (ice) hockey-commitment, perseverance and teamwork-to enrich the lives of people in his community."
Burns was also named a finalist for the award in 2013-14. He is the first Sharks player in franchise history to win this award.
The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to Burns' chosen charitable organizations. Burns has selected two beneficiaries: Defending the Blue Line, affording children of military members the opportunity to participate in the game of hockey by providing hockey equipment, game tickets and unique experiences with professional athletes, and Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships for family members of injured and/or deceased military men and women.
On a local level, Burns has assisted the Sharks Foundation, which offers unique resources and financial support to organizations that enhance the lives of local youth and families, in a variety of ways. He has participated in many community events over the course of the 2014-15 season which include:
- Raised over $15,000 by shaving his head and beard in the second annual Burnzie's Buzz Cut for Charity - bringing the total raised through the fundraiser to nearly $40,000
- Helped the Sharks Foundation raise over $80,000 by participating in the Sharks Foundation Golf Classic
- Participated in the Sharks annual "Hockey Fights Cancer" Awareness Night by hosting individuals through Kaiser Hospital and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society post game
- Participated in a Spring hospital visit at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara
- Participated in the Sharks Holiday Assist program-- providing a local family in need with gifts, food, and other essentials during the holiday season
- Helped the Sharks Foundation raise over $120,000 at the annual Sampling with the Sharks wine tasting event - $24,000 of which came from a Live Auction package Brent crafted consisting of a day in Wine Country with he and his wife, Susan
- Participated in the Sharks and Strikes bowling event to help raise nearly $50,000 for the Sharks Foundation.
- In February 2014, Brent helped raise more than $62,000 and collect close to 1,000 pieces of hockey equipment through a Skate for the Troops event
- Participates in Make-A-Wish and Dream Foundation visits including the "Shark for a Day" event in which 18-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient Sam Tageson was given the opportunity to be a part of the Sharks morning skate, take several behind-the-scenes tours, skate through the Shark Head for introductions, and be announced as part of the starting lineup
- Provision of autographed items to many youth-related causes (fundraising initiatives)
- Always quick to attend meet and greets with children and other fans following games
- Thousands of additional dollars donated through other charitable efforts (Gongshow Gear clothing, Extra Life video game play, etc...)
- Participation to promote equality in sports through "You Can Play"
- Honored by the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squad with a flag that was flown during combat and a certificate in May 2014
On the ice, Burns' return to the defensive position in 2014-15 led him to posting a career year in numerous categories. In 82 games Burns posted 60 points (17 goals, 43 assists), setting a career-high in assists (43) and points (60). Burns finished the year ranked 4th league-wide amongst defensemen in goals (17), T-4th in assists (43), T-2nd in points (60), and 3rd in shots (245).
Burns was also elected to represent the San Jose Sharks at the 2015 All-Star Game. In addition, he was named "Sharks Player of the Month" for March after ranking T-1st on the team in points (10) during the month and pacing the team with 10 assists in 13 games.
The native of Barrie, ON was originally selected by Minnesota in the first round (20th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by San Jose via trade on June 24, 2011.