Giordano, Simmonds, Williams finalists for Mark Messier Leadership Award

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano discusses the tough ending to such a great season, and why there shouldn't be criticism against Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for their compete level and character.

The NHL has announced the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, given annually to the player “who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey.”

This season’s finalists are Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano, Nashville Predators forward Wayne Simmonds and Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams.

Giordano set career-highs in assists (57) and points (78) in 78 games this season, helping the Flames earn the best record in the Western Conference for the first time since 1989-90. Off the ice, he continued to do work with his charity, Team Giordano, which promotes improving physical fitness, academics and leadership skills in local schools. The charity has raised over $400,000 since it was founded in 2014. Giordano has also participated in the Flames’ literacy program and the Calgary Pride Parade.

Simmonds recorded 17 goals and 30 points in 79 games this season split between the Philadelphia Flyers and Predators. He also crossed the 800 career game mark this season. Simmonds was a board member with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation for the sixth consecutive year, visiting community rinks and working with students. On top of his work with the Snider Foundation, Simmonds hosted his annual Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors ball hockey fundraiser in his hometown of Scarborough, Ont., and welcomed military members to Flyers games in a private suit as part of his Wayne’s Warriors program.

Williams was named captain of the Hurricanes in September and helped lead the team to it’s first playoff appearance in 10 years. The 37-year-old had 23 goals and 53 points in 82 games this season, and spearheaded the Storm Surge post-game celebrations that the team became known for after wins on home ice. In addition to his play on the ice, Williams helped coach the Junior Hurricanes U10 team and assisted in local girls’ hockey events. He also hosts an annual summer program, Justin Williams Skills Development Camp, in his hometown of Cobourg, Ont.

The Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award finalists and winner are picked by Messier himself, in consultation with members of the NHL community. All award winners will be announced on June 19 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Last season, Deryk Engelland of the Vegas Golden Knights won this award.

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