NHL Awards 2020: Recapping the First Five Days of Announcements

The NHL started announcing the winners of each of their end-of-season awards this past Sunday, September 6th, 2020. They’ve announced one before every game of the Conference Finals so far, for a total of five awards at the time of publishing. The King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the Bill Masterton Trophy, the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, the Jack Adams Award, and the Frank J. Selke Trophy have all been awarded so far. Here’s a recap of each award and the winner.

King Clancy Memorial Trophy

The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is awarded annually “to the player or players who best exemplify leadership qualities on and off the ice and have made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in their communities.” This year’s winner was Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild. This was his first time being a finalist for the award. Dumba has done a lot in the community to help in the fight for racial and social justice. He’s committed to making the Hockey is For Everyone initiative a reality. He also helped create the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) along with seven other current and former Black NHL players.

Dumba also launched fundraising efforts to help rebuild small businesses that were damaged during the riots and protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In addition to this, he’s donated money to over 60 families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also participated in Athletes Committed to Educating Students (ACES) with the Wild for the past several seasons. Finally, Dumba plays a big part in the Wild’s Hockey Fights Cancer night. 

You can read more about Dumba’s humanitarian efforts here, as his interview following the announcement. As a result of his win, Dumba received $25,000 to donate to charities of his choice. He will split the donation between the HDA and ACES. The other finalists were Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils’ defenseman P.K. Subban. They will each receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.

Bill Masteron Trophy

The Bill Masterton Trophy is award annually to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” This year’s winner was Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators. Ryan took an extended leave of absence for the Senators back in November to take part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. He entered the program for help with alcohol abuse. Ryan made his return to the team on February 25th in an away game against the Nashville Predators. Just two days later, he became one of the best stories of the season, as he scored a hat trick in his first home game back. You can find the video Ryan’s interview following the announcement of his win here.  A $2,500 grant will be made by the PHWA in Ryan’s name to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund.

The other two finalists this year were Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers and Stephen Johns of the Dallas Stars. Lindblom was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma, back in December. He was able to return to the team during the playoffs, in what is one of the best feel-good stories of the year. Had he returned during the regular-season, I think he would’ve won this year. But, because the voting took place before his return, I’m not surprised he didn’t. He is a near-lock to win next year though. As for Johns, he made his return to the Stars on January 18th after missing 22 months with post-traumatic headaches. His was certainly an incredible accomplishment too. It’s great to see him come out on the other side of his major concussion issues.

Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award

The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, which is “named after the first Black player in NHL history, recognizes an individual who, like O’Ree, has used hockey to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture or society.” It’s awarded annually. This year’s winner is Dampy Brar, a resident of Calgary, Alberta. Brar played professionally in the International Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. He now mentors, coaches, and teaches hockey to kids. He also started an initiative with his partner, Lali Toor, called Apna Hockey. This program “provides support to South Asian and other ethnic players, connects the community, highlights players and parents, and spreads information.

Back in 2018, Brar worked with Canadian national team legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser and the Wickfest team. Together, they brought the first women’s ice hockey team from India to Canada. Brar mentored and traveled with the team, and Apna Hockey provided them with coaching sessions. Then, last year, Brar flew to Leh Ladakh, India to attend to their championship, taking his initiative internationally.

Brar is a big advocate of girls playing hockey, as ethnic girls are even more unlikely to play the sport. He also continues to play hockey in the Heritage League, which he leads in scoring. Brar was going to Europe this summer to compete with Team Canada at the World Masters Ball Hockey Tournament. But, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the presentation of the award here. Brar won the award via an online vote.  Another finalist this year was Alexandria Briggs-Blake, the president of the Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization in Maryland. The other one was John Haferman, the co-founder of the Columbus Ice Hockey Club.

Jack Adams Award

The Jack Adams Award is awarded annually to the coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” This year’s winner was Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins. Cassidy led the Bruins to a 44-14-12 record this season. That was good for the President’s Trophy as the best in the NHL. They had an eight-point division lead when the season paused on March 12th, the largest gap in the league.

On top of that, the Bruins’ allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season with just 167 allowed. This got their goaltenders the William Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals allowed in the league. The Bruins were also tied for seventh in scoring in the league with the Philadelphia Flyers, with 227 goals scored. As for their special teams, their power play was good for second, with a 25.5% success rate. Their penalty kill was third in the league with an 84.3% success rate. 

This was Cassidy’s second time being a finalist for the award. The other finalists this year were Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can find Cassidy’s interview following the announcement here, as well as more details and the full voting breakdown.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the “forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.” This year’s winner was Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers. Couturier had the best faceoff-win percentage in the NHL this season with a 59.9% success rate (minimum 750 attempts). He was second in defensive-zone faceoff-win percentage with a 59.5% success rate. Couturier led Flyers forwards in time on ice this season, with an average of 19:50 per game. He also led Flyers forwards in total shorthanded time on ice, spending 140:29 on the ice while down a man.

Finally, he led all Flyers skates in SAT percentage (shot attempts, also known as Corsi). While he was on the ice, the Flyers took 56.1% of the shots. Couturier had 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) in 69 regular-season games for the Flyers. You can watch Couturier’s interview following the announcement here. The other finalists this year were Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues. You can also find more details on them at the article linked above, as well as the full voting breakdown.

Final Thoughts

All the winners of the awards this year were more than deserving of it. Most of the finalists were also more than worthy. Keep watching NHL Live before the Conference Final games to find out the rest of the award winners this season! The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy gets announced tonight (Friday, September 11th, 2020). The Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award will be announced tomorrow, while the Mark Messier Leadership Award will be announced Sunday night. There will also be a show at some point during the Stanley Cup Finals. During that time, the winners of the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award, the Vezina Trophy, the James Norris Trophy, and the Calder Memorial Trophy will be announced. So, stay tuned for that likely sometime late next week or early the following week!

-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)

Featured image courtesy of RussianMachineNeverBreaks.com

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