Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar has won the 2022 Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is 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."
Messier, who picks the winner after soliciting suggestions from people around the NHL, announced Kopitar had won during the first intermission of Game 1 between the Lightning and Rangers on Wednesday.
"Thank you for the award, it's a great honour," Kopitar said in an interview with Messier on ESPN. "I'm very thankful, obviously, to be a part of the hockey community. It's given me so much."
Kopitar has been a cornerstone player for the Kings since joining the NHL in 2006, while also serving as a proud representative of the greater Los Angeles community.
On the ice, the 34-year-old led the Kings in scoring for the 14th time in his 16 seasons with 67 points in 81 — helping Los Angeles return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18. Only Gordie Howe (17 seasons with the Red Wings) has led his team in scoring more times.
Kopitar has also been a spokesperson and contributor to a number of fundraising efforts in the U.S and his native Slovenia. This includes contributions to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Make a Wish Foundation, Wags and Walks and the Kings Care Foundation, as well as an annual hockey academy in Slovenia that typically attracts 200 players from around the world.
Kopitar has been the Kings captain since 2016-17 and is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Selke Trophy winner and a one-time Lady Byng Trophy recipient.
Last season, Boston's Patrice Bergeron won the Mark Messier Award. In 2014, Kopitar's long-time teammate Dustin Brown won the award on behalf of the Kings.