National Hockey League players have a long-standing tradition of supporting charities and other important causes in their communities, and NHL member clubs are constant in their quest to help local schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations. In recognition of this dedication, the NHL Foundation annually awards $25,000 to a current player's charity that embodies the core values of the NHL -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community.
Past recipients of the NHL Foundation Player Award include Rick Nash (2009), Vincent Lecavalier and Trevor Linden (2008), Joe Sakic (2007), Marty Turco (2006), Jarome Iginla (2004), Darren McCarty (2003), Ron Francis (2002), Olaf Kolzig (2001), Adam Graves (2000), Rob Ray (1999) and Kelly Chase (1998).
The winner of the trophy will be announced at the 2010 NHL Awards, to be held in Las Vegas on June 23. The ceremony will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Here is a closer look at the finalists:
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles KingsBrown is a finalist for the second consecutive season in recognition for his continued involvement in Kings charitable activities and his leadership in soliciting the involvement of his fellow players. He rallied his teammates around multiple causes this season, resulting in matching donations of $40,000 to the Kings Community Corner ticket program and the American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. For his efforts, Brown was selected as the Kings' Most Popular Player, was a recipient of the Kings Community Service Award for the second consecutive year and was the Kings' nominee for the 2009-10 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
This season, Brown continued his partnership with KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization with the mission of providing a place to play within walking distance of every child in America, in an attempt to combat childhood obesity. For the second straight year, Brown committed $50 for each of his hits in the regular-season and playoffs. With matching contributions offered by the Farmer John organization, the money raised will help the organization build new playgrounds in Southern California.
Brown is a spokesperson for the Children's Cancer Research Fund and encourages fans to support the Kings 4 Kids Night, which raises nearly $25,000 annually for the organization. He is a supporter of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Child Abuse Prevention Center, and he participates in all Kings community initiatives -- including his personal favorite, the Adopt-a-Family program, through which players provide holiday gifts for underprivileged families. In August 2009, Brown also became the face of the Kings' $500,000 initiative with the Blood Donor Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, lending his name and likeness to the look and creative design of the L.A. Kings Bloodmobile. In 2009, he was named the Los Angeles Kings' "Hometown Hero" at the Southern California Sports Choice Awards and recognized as a 2009 Outstanding Young Californian by the California Jaycees Foundation and the California Junior Chamber for his "commitment to challenge and inspire California's youth."
Mike Green, Washington CapitalsGreen has been a participant in Miracle on Seventh Street, hosted by the Rock Bottom Foundation, since 2006. He wasn't content simply donating his time on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day, so in 2007 he decided to work with the Children's Law Center's Adopt a Family Christmas Drive to adopt a Washington, D.C. family and provide them with gifts during the holidays. In 2008 and 2009, Green partnered with Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities Family EMPOWERment Center, allowing him to deliver gifts to his adopted family in-person and to spend part of the day with them. His actions led to the Capitals' organization adopting 25 families in 2009 through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program.
Green also is the co-founder of So Kids Can, a fund-raising initiative that benefits a different youth-focused, non-profit organization each year. He donates $100 for every goal he scores and $50 for each assist and the figures are doubled during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In last year's inaugural season, So Kids Can raised nearly $30,000 for Pediatric Prosthetics, Inc., an organization that helps families throughout the U.S. that have children who have lost a limb or have a congenital limb deficiency. The Washington, D.C. community has embraced the charity, as well. During the summer of 2009, a Papa John's promotional campaign raised $45,000 even before the season started for this year's selected organization, Children's National Medical Center. Green serves as a sports ambassador for The Children's Inn at the National Institute of Health to help raise funds and awareness for the organization, which serves as a home for families with children who are seriously ill. Through his Green's Gang initiative, he donates seven tickets to every Capitals home game to soldiers and their families or to children who otherwise would be unable to attend.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo SabresMiller is the founder of the Steadfast Foundation, which he established to benefit those afflicted and affected by the consequences of cancer, especially childhood forms of the disease. The organization, which has raised more than $500,000 since it was created in 2006, was inspired by Miller's cousin, Matt Shoals, who died from leukemia in 2007. The primary benefactor of the Steadfast Foundation is Carly's Club, a support group for children and families who are fighting cancer. Miller-organized support programs for Carly's Club include the Saves for Cancer program in 2008, which raised $30,000 based on Miller's on-ice play; an agreement with Perry's Ice Cream that has provided $20,000 to date based on sales of a new, Miller-inspired flavor, Breakaway Berrier (a mix of premium dark chocolate ice cream laced with raspberry swirls and accompanied by chunky fudge pieces); and a partnership with Buffalo Place to present the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, at which members of the community can purchase Saves for Cancer holiday ornaments.
Miller also hosts an annual Catwalk for Charity, during which he and his teammates model clothing from Miller's The Refinery store in East Lansing, Mich. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $400,000. In addition, he donates suite tickets for all Sabres home games and HSBC Arena special events to Carly's Club and is an active supporter of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, the Buffalo Sabres Adopt-a-Family program and the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo.
As one of the Sabres' most popular players, Miller often is called upon to assist with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation in its numerous community events and activities. He regularly spends time after games with fans that are sick, disabled or in need. Miller also participates in experiences that generate significant funds for the Buffalo Sabres Foundation despite the constant demands on his time.
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