NEW YORK (June 4, 2021) – San Jose Sharks right wing Kurtis Gabriel, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban are the three finalists for the 2020‑21 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is presented “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Each NHL team nominated a player for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, with the three finalists and winner chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
The selection committee applies the following criteria in determining the finalists and winner:
* 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; engagement of others
The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced. 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.
Following are the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Kurtis Gabriel, San Jose Sharks
Gabriel is a steadfast advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. He uses his social media accounts to amplify messaging and educate fans and fellow players, while supporting LGBTQ+ causes by participating in events and having candid conversations. In a digital age, he has been able to use his platform on Twitter and Instagram to spread awareness like never before. He supported the local San Jose nonprofit, the LGBTQ Youth Space, by donating a custom, game-worn skate to be auctioned by the Sharks Foundation. Featuring the colors of the Pride flag and the message “Love is Love,” the item raised $1,600 in support of the nonprofit. Reflecting his interest in raising awareness for racial and social justice, Gabriel’s second skate in the custom set, which features the messages “BLM” & “Hope, Empathy, Change,” will be auctioned by the Sharks Foundation during its Juneteenth auction this summer, with proceeds going to a diversity-focused nonprofit.
Gabriel has been an ongoing advocate for You Can Play, a nonprofit working to ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. He also has supported the African American Community Service Agency, Las Lomitas Education Foundation, Housing Industry Foundation, San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation, Girls on the Run Silicon Valley and the Sharks Foundation.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Rinne, 38, is a Predators franchise icon for a sparkling playing career that includes 369 wins since debuting with Nashville in December 2005, and for his unwavering commitment through the years to improve the lives of so many in Middle Tennessee. In 2012-13, alongside former captain Shea Weber, Rinne formed the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, raising money and awareness for cancer research at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Since the establishment of the fund, donations totaling over $3 million have been made to the hospital and its programs. In his first full season with the team, after meeting Mike, a man with Down Syndrome, Rinne also fostered an ongoing affiliation with Best Buddies, a nonprofit advocating for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Additionally, Rinne has continued to support Make-A-Wish; the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s, founded in 2009 by former Predators assistant coach Brent Peterson to raise awareness of the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease; and a number of other initiatives throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“He’s just been such an incredible person on and off the ice, especially off the ice,” Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said of Rinne. “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.”
P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils
Subban, a King Clancy Memorial Trophy finalist in 2020 and for the third time overall, has embraced philanthropic work throughout his entire NHL career. The blueliner launched the P.K. Subban Foundation in 2014 and has participated in a number of other efforts during his 12 NHL seasons in the greater Newark, Montreal and Nashville communities. Since joining the Devils in 2019, Subban has established his Blueline Buddies program in Newark. Although this year the team wasn’t able to host in-person visits, Subban adapted the program to go virtually with video conferencing meetings during which he engaged with program members. Throughout the 2020-21 campaign, Subban also met with members of the medical community, frontline workers and those who have served their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Devils’ King Clancy nominee also works to grow the sport of hockey as a role model for others. “It’s about having an influence on kids who look like me coming up through the sport,” Subban said. “Giving them that hope, in seeing where I’ve come from and where I am today. I feel I have the power to change lives through the sport and connect with people through this program and beyond. That’s really important to me especially given the current climate.”