Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson did not win the King Clancy Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Ekman-Larsson finished behind Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker, who won the award. Ekman-Larsson was a finalist with Zucker and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The award is presented annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” The winner was chosen by a committee of league executives that includes commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Ekman-Larsson got the nomination in his first season as team captain and his ninth season in the NHL overall.
“It’s a big honor,” Ekman-Larsson told ArizonaCoyotes.com on Tuesday. “I think it’s one of the nicest prizes that you can be nominated for. It means that you’re doing something good off the ice. As an organization, we take a lot of pride in doing that and take that and put that first before hockey and everything else. So I’m just happy to be a part of the Coyotes.”
Ekman-Larsson signed an eight-year contract extension worth a reported $8.25 million AAV in July of last year. Afterward, he made a donation of $125,000 to a Boys & Girls Club in Scottsdale and, as he has for several years, purchased suites at Gila River Arena to host kids for games followed by a meet-and-greet.
“I just felt like it was a good fit for me,” he said of the Boys & Girls Club of Scottsdale. “I felt like they are doing a lot of good things out in the community, helping out with kids who [don’t] have an easy life. I feel like they always have their backs, and that’s something that I want to do.”
He has also participated in initiatives for mental health awareness, Hockey Fights Cancer, Hockey is For Everyone, and an anti-bullying campaign.
For his win, Zucker is awarded $40,000 from the NHL to be donated to the charity of that player’s choice. The two finalists who were not chosen as the winner will each receive $5,000 for the charity of their choice.
No Coyotes players, coaches or staff were nominated for the other honors that were presented at Wednesday’s NHL Awards. Head coach Rick Tocchet received some deserved consideration in the media for the Jack Adams Award, presented to the league’s top head coach each year. Ultimately, though, that honor’s finalists were St. Louis’ Craig Berube, New York Islanders’ Barry Trotz and Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper.
Per a prior statement from the league, these are some of the criteria in selecting a winner for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy:
— Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
— Investment of time and resources
— Commitment to a particular cause or community
— Commitment to the League’s community initiatives (Hockey is for Everyone, Hockey Fights Cancer, Future Goals, Learn to Play, NHL Green, etc.)
— Creativity of programming
— Use of influence; engagement of others