The National Hockey League announced its finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy on Friday, and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was among the three players chosen.
The King Clancy award is given annually to the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” If ever there were an award seemingly tailor made for Rinne, it would be this one.
"He's just been such an incredible person on and off the ice, especially off the ice," Predators’ defenseman Mattias Ekholm said on Wednesday. "He just conducts himself to the game in a way that's just pure class. I don't have enough good things to say about him. He's been a leader in the city, in this community, and he's going to go down as one of, if not the greatest Predator to ever put this uniform on… There's probably not another player I have more respect for than him."
The winner of the award will be chosen by a selection committee spearheaded by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. The criteria include the following: 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; creativity of programming; use of influence, and engagement of others.
Since joining the team in 2005, Rinne has been a lead-by-example player. The 38-year-old has been a catalyst in the community through several initiatives, including the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, the Best Buddies program, the Make-A-Wish foundation and the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s.
Through the 365 Fund, more than $3 million has been donated to the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to support cancer research. His work with the Best Buddies program helps advocate for individuals that suffer from intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"Peks has been such a huge part of this franchise," captain Roman Josi said. "Peks was great this year, and he's probably the most respected guy on our team. When he says something, everybody listens.”
The NHL will announce the winner of the King Clancy Award, along with the rest of the 2021 NHL Awards, during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final. Specific dates and times will be announced soon.
The King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner will receive a $25,000 donation to benefit a charity or charities of his choice. The two runners-up each will receive a $5,000 donation to benefit a charity or charities of their choice.
While he’s still mulling over a possible retirement with his family, becoming the first Predator in franchise history to win a King Clancy Memorial Trophy could be the prefect bow on a storied career.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_