The Calgary Flames may not have had a positive 2022–23 season, but they did have a player nominated for an end-of-year NHL award. Mikael Backlund was named a finalist for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy on June 7th, and was announced as the winner of the prestigious award last night at the NHL awards show in Nashville.
History of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Directly from NHL.com, this is the background on the trophy:
Description: First awarded in 1987–88, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy is presented annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
Voting: Each NHL team submits a nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The three finalists and ultimate winner are selected 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 of the award:
- 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
History: The King Clancy Memorial Trophy was presented in 1988 by the NHL’s Board of Governors in honor of Frank “King” Clancy, a beloved figure in the League for decades as a player, referee, coach, manager and goodwill ambassador. A three-time Stanley Cup champion and 1958 inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Clancy was voted as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players during the League’s Centennial Celebration in 2017.
Charitable Donations: The King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner receives a $25,000 donation from the NHL Foundation to benefit a charity or charities of his choice. The two runners-up each receive a $5,000 donation from the NHL Foundation to benefit a charity or charities of their choice.NHL.com’s page on awards
Mikael Backlund’s community work
Backlund has been a pillar in the Flames and Calgary community ever since he was drafted by the team. He has been involved in many different initiatives alongside his wife Frida Engstrom. Once again, NHL.com has a great writeup on his work:
Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund received the 2022–23 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Backlund, who was drafted by the Flames in 2007 and has spent his entire NHL career in Calgary, has used his platform as a professional athlete to bring attention to many worthy causes. He supports the ALS Society of Alberta in honor of his mother-in-law, who succumbed to the disease when his wife, Frida, was just 19 years old. It also is of importance for Backlund as Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow has been battling ALS for the last four years. Backlund and his spouse have raised more than $400,000 for the nonprofit and have welcomed nearly 100 families affected by ALS to home games.
As an ambassador for both Kids Cancer Care and Special Olympics Calgary, Backlund – who had a childhood friend diagnosed with cancer and another who was born with Down syndrome – has invited an additional 500 guests to attend Flames games and meet with him afterward. Most recently, Backlund and his wife partnered with Parachutes for Pets to create Lily’s Legacy, named after their dog who passed away in 2021. This first-of-its-kind program allows children in foster care to keep their pets while they are transitioning into care.NHL.com’s page on awards
Backlund was, of course, incredibly humble when receiving this award. He noted that the award is not the reason why he gives back to the community, he simply wants to help people. He said: “I’ve always been inspired by people who help others that struggle,” Backlund explained. “I am aware that I have been given the opportunity to live a privileged life and know that a small gesture from me can mean the world to other people.”
Calgary Flames King Clancy Memorial Trophy history
Backlund is the fourth Flames player to win the award. Lanny McDonald won the very first King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1987–88, Joe Nieuwendyk won in 1994–95, and Jarome Iginla won in 2003–04. Each team submits one name for the award.
Congratulations to the entire Backlund family on this well deserved honour.