Tuesday’s NHL Awards, held in person for the first time since 2019 because of the pandemic, had a distinctly Massachusetts flavor.
The Snow family, including Chris Snow, handed out the Norris Trophy. Chris, a former Boston Globe baseball writer who now works as an executive with the Flames, was diagnosed with ALS in 2019. He took the stage with his children and wife, Kelsie.
“I’d like to thank all of you for helping us here tonight. It means so much to my family and so much to people living with ALS,” said Chris.
“ALS is a daily struggle, and we hope that by sharing Chris’s story we are shining a light on this disease that will help the entire ALS community,” said Kelsie. “We are so grateful for our hockey family; for all the support and love, for help fundraising. For everyone who helped our ‘Trick Shot for Snowy’ campaign be so successful a couple of years ago. And to everyone who is joining in our ‘Weak Side Strong‘ initiative now.
“ALS is an isolating disease. Thanks for always reminding us that we are not alone.”
The honor went to Colorado star Cale Makar, a UMass product who has helped carry the Avalanche into the Stanley Cup Final. Makar thanked the other two finalists, as well as the Colorado ownership group “for giving us the tools to be a successful team.” He also singled out his “amazing” parents, and referenced the fact that the Avalanche and Lightning face each other in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night in Tampa.
“Obviously, the boys, we have some important things to do [Wednesday],” he said. “Overall, this one goes to them, for sure.”
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron accepted his fifth career Selke Award in a pre-recorded video.
“I’m humbled by the honor,” said Bergeron.
Bergeron, who has been nominated for the award for 11 consecutive seasons, had won it in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up his first significant career honor, as he was named to the All-Rookie team. The 23-year-old netminder had a .914 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average, appearing in half the team’s games this season.
Milton Academy’s Jake Thibeault, who was paralyzed by an injury on the ice in September 2021, presented the Calder Trophy to Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider.
“Hockey is all about playing harder and digging deeper than the other guy, so I just channeled that,” said Thibeault, asked about his perseverance. “I just want to thank everyone who has supported me and got behind my story this year.”
The Willie O’Ree Award, named in honor of the former Bruin and given to the individual who uses hockey to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture or society, was given to Baltimore’s Noel Acton. Acton is the founder of the Baltimore Banners, a program geared toward getting at-risk youth off the streets and involved in sports.
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