On Jonathan Toews‘ 26th birthday Tuesday, he was named a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
The NHL Leadership Award, presented by Bridgestone, is awarded “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season.”
Toews, the youngest player to serve as captain for the Blackhawks when he was selected in 2008, has been a leader for the team on-ice and a charitable leader for the Blackhawks in the community. The Olympic gold medal winner and two-time Stanley Cup champion’s resume also has work that often focuses on children; and he can be seen at different rinks in the Chicago region. More poignantly, Toews volunteers to make wishes come true for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Most recently, Toews helped Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant 4-year-old Nicholas Skretkowski’s wish at the Stadium Series game in March at Soldier Field. Skretkowski, from Milton, Ontario, has a medical condition called Wilms’ tumor, as well as strabismus.
Toews annually participates in the Four Feathers Golf Invitational–the team’s largest charity event of the year. He also routinely helps out with fundraisers, either through the donation of autographed memorabilia or personal appearances.
Toews, a Winnipeg, Manitoba native, is also very active in the Chicago group Misericordia, which offers a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities. He has volunteered with the group and brought the Stanley Cup to tour the campus and visit with residents after the 2013 season.
According to the NHL, Dustin Brown from the LA Kings was also nominated.
Brown has been with the Kings for his entire 10-year career, and served as captain for six years. A very physical player, Brown uses his hits as a way to give back. He donates $50 per hit to a different charity each season. For the past two seasons, he chose the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit of the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Before that, Brown and his wife worked with the nonprofit KaBOOM!, raising $70,000 to build a new playground in Carson, Calif., that hosts more than 100 kids daily. The 29-year-old from Ithaca, N.Y. has been nominated for the past two seasons.
Anaheim Duck Ryan Getzlaf, 28, of Regina, Sask., is a first-time nominee.
He had a phenomenal season this year, scoring a career-high 31 goals–second in the NHL, with 87 points–and leading the Ducks to the best season in franchise history. In his third year as the Ducks’ captain, Getzlaf has lead in charity. He hosts the annual Getzlaf Golf Shootout, which in its third running raised more than $300,000 for CureDuchenne this year. CureDuchenne is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds research for the progressive muscle-wasting disease that impacts one in every 3,500 boys, according to the NHL.
According to the NHL, Mark Messier solicits suggestions from Club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2014 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.
While Toews was also a finalist last season, Daniel Alfredsson won the award.
Toews is also a contender for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward.