captain Dustin Brown
is a three-time nominee as the NHL's best leader. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
Forwards Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were named today as the three finalists for the 2013-14 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which goes to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season."
Hall of Famer Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and league personnel to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and the ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 24.
Here's what the league had to say about the three intrepid finalists:
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
Brown has spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the Kings, serving as their captain for the past six campaigns. Known for his physical style of play, he donates $50 per hit to a different charity each season. In 2012-13 and 2013-14, he selected Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit. Prior to that, he and his wife partnered with the nonprofit KaBOOM! to raise $70,000 and build a new playground in Carson, Calif., that now hosts more than 100 kids per day. The 29-year-old Ithaca, N.Y., native is a finalist for the award for the third time, having also been nominated the past two seasons.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Getzlaf enjoyed a superb season in 2013-14, scoring a career-high 31 goals and ranking second in the NHL with 87 points while leading the Ducks to the best campaign in franchise history. Anaheim’s captain since 2010-11, he has also taken a leadership role off the ice, highlighted by the annual Getzlaf Golf Shootout. The third such event, hosted last September, raised more than $300,000 for CureDuchenne, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds research for those who are suffering from the progressive muscle-wasting disease, which impacts one in every 3,500 boys. The 28-year-old Regina, Sask., native is a first-time finalist for this award.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews has served as the captain of the Blackhawks since 2008-09, when he was just 20 years old. While his leadership on the ice is undisputed, his work with various children’s charitable causes also makes him a role model in the community. Among those efforts, Toews volunteers to grant wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which has included a special skating session with four-year-old Nicholas Skretkowski before the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field. The 25-year-old Winnipeg native is a finalist for this award for the second time after finishing as a runner-up in 2012-13.
We say: All three of the finalists are tremendous players and exemplary humans, fully deserving of acclaim and honor. Honestly, though? It's hard to get geared up for a trophy that not only has a corporate sponsor (we're not mentioning it here), but is awarded by a committee of one. Let's just hope the third time's the charm for Brown and move on to the next real trophy.
More awards picks: Hart | Calder | Selke | Vezina | Norris | Lady Byng | One nobody wants