Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season,” the National Hockey League announced Thursday.
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. The winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, as well as the winners of the NHL Foundation Player Award and King Clancy Memorial Trophy, will be announced Tuesday, June 20, at the 2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards, a special event at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas that will honor the League’s leaders both on and off the ice. The winners of the 2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards also will be recognized the following day at the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena.
Following are the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, in alphabetical order:
Nick Foligno, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets Serving his second season as captain, Foligno led Columbus to a 32-point improvement and its best campaign in franchise history. Off the ice, Foligno and his wife, Janelle, committed $1 million split between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital in support of pediatric congenital heart care in honor of their daughter, Milana. Foligno continued a partnership with Papa John’s Pizza, raising money for the Janis Foligno Foundation – created in memory of his late mother, who died from breast cancer in 2009. The 29- year-old Buffalo native also joined his teammates for various community initiatives, including the Blue Jackets’ Meals on Wheels campaign during the holiday season.
Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim Ducks Getzlaf, Anaheim’s captain since 2010-11, powered the Ducks to their fifth straight Pacific Division title and became the first player in franchise history to lead the team in scoring for five consecutive seasons. Away from the rink, he and teammate Corey Perry continued their roles with the Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play program, which they launched together in 2013 to provide equipment and classes for first-time hockey players ages 4-12. The 31-year-old Regina, Sask., native also hosted his fifth annual golf tournament benefitting CureDuchenne, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for the progressive muscle-wasting disease. To date, Getzlaf and his wife, Paige, have raised more than $1.675 million through the event.
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames Calgary’s captain since 2013-14, Giordano guided the Flames to their second playoff berth in the last three years. The reigning NHL Foundation Player Award winner also maintained his longstanding contributions in the local community and beyond. Team Giordano, launched in 2014 with the Calgary Board of Education, has donated $300,000 to high-needs schools to promote improved physical fitness and academics. The initiative has impacted nearly 2,000 students, funding the purchase of equipment and encouraging children through the “5 G’s” Giordano believes are the keys to success in life. The 33-year-old Toronto native also has been an ambassador for various team programs, including Reading…Give It a Shot! since 2006-07.