(photo credit: NHL)
It was announced on Friday that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, defenseman Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames, and Defenseman Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks are the three finalists for the NHL Foundation Player Awards. According to the NHL, the award is presented to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.” This years winner will receive $25,000 from the NHL Foundation to go towards the charitable organization chosen.
These three names are among many in the National Hockey League that dedicate their time and even their money to a charity that they call their own. Not only are all 30 NHL teams dedicated to making a difference in their community by getting involved, but many players also are as individuals. The first NHL Player Foundation award was given in 1998.
Henrik Lundqvist is not only an impact player on the ice, but also out in the community. Through his own charity the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation and the Garden of Dreams Foundation, he has aided in 28 different nonprofit charities. The Henrik Lundvist Foundations mission statement says, “The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation, through its fundraising efforts and community outreach, strives to create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services.”
The Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano has made his leadership clear in other places besides the ice. Giordano and his wife started a community program called “5-for-5” in 2011 which benefits the Habitat for Humanity. In three season, they’ve donated $25,000 to aid in the building of five homes in five different countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines).“Having a home is something we can take for granted,” Giordano said when they launched the campaign, per the Calgary Flames website. On top of that, his other foundation Team Giordano, which was launched in the fall, supports three different Calgary schools. He has donated $100,000 to provide resources and support for the three local schools. Giordano also actively participates in team coordinated events such as visits to the Ronald McDonald House and Alberta Children’s Hospital.
30 year old San Jose defenseman Brent Burns is much more than a goofy looking guy with missing teeth, crazy hair and some funky suits. Burns has been heavily involved with different charitable organization supporting the military for the past nine years. His commitment to organizations such as Defending the Blue Line, Operation: Care and Comfort, and Folds of Honor show exactly why his candidacy is well-deserved. On top of his efforts with these other organizations, he has his own fundraising event called Burnzie’s Buzzcut. This benefits organizations such as defending the Blue Line, The Katie Moore Foundation-in support of fellow NHL’er Dominic Moore– and the San Francisco Zoo. This past year Chris Tierney, Barclay Goodrow, James Sheppard, Joe Pavelski and Mirco Mueller shaved their heads and beards and took place in the event. They raised over $15,000 this past year, and were able to donate over $5,000 to all three deserving charities.
The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three are very deserving of the award, and their charities, even more so.