Update: Travis Hamonic has been named the winner of the 2017 NHL Foundation Player Award. Congrats to both Hamonic and Simmonds nonetheless on their excellent work in the community.
No Flyers will be nominated for NHL on-ice awards after this season, but the team’s 2016-17 MVP has now been named an NHL award finalist for his outstanding efforts off the ice.
Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds was announced today as one of two finalists for the 2016-17 NHL Foundation Player Award, which, per the NHL, is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
Since arriving in Philadelphia six years ago, Simmonds has been active with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, and has been a member of their board since 2014. He also hosts an annual hockey tournament with Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors in his Toronto-area hometown of Scarborough, where he’s worked to provide opportunities for young members of the community there to get involved in hockey.
Giving back to the community has always been a huge deal for Simmonds — and not just because he promised his mom he’d do it if he made it to the NHL. Via NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman in an excellent piece about the Wayne Train from 2014:
Wanda Simmonds remembers the conversation she had one day a few years ago with her son Wayne.
It was before Wayne Simmonds grew into a 6-foot-2, 183-pound forward for the Philadelphia Flyers; before he was a second-round pick (No. 61) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007 NHL Draft; even before he was a budding star in the Ontario Hockey League.
It was when Simmonds was an unknown minor player, one of many skating in regional leagues across Canada.
Wanda Simmonds made her son make a promise.
"I said to him, 'There's two things I want to you to do if you ever make it to the NHL,'" she told NHL.com. "'I want you to give back [to your community] and I want you to give to your church.'"
Obedient son that he is, Wayne Simmonds followed his mother's wishes. And the next generation of hockey hopefuls from the Scarborough, Ontario, region has benefited from Simmonds keeping his word.
And now Wayne, one of the most beloved athletes in the city of Philadelphia, is being recognized for his efforts. Tough to imagine many guys who deserve it more.
Simmonds was named a finalist along with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, whose D-Partner Program has helped hundreds of children who have lost a parent at a young age. We here at BSH are of course partial to Wayne and hope that he takes that award home, but are of course thankful for Hamonic’s efforts and are happy to see him honored here as well.
The award will be given out on Tuesday, June 20, the day before the NHL’s awards ceremony, though the winner will be re-recognized during the awards ceremony itself on June 21.
The NHL’s full press release can be read below.
NEW YORK -- New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds are the two finalists for the 2016-17 NHL Foundation Player Award, which is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community," the National Hockey League announced today.
NHL clubs submitted nominations for the NHL Foundation Player Award, with the finalists selected by a judging panel. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the chosen charitable organization of this year's recipient.
The winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award, as well as the winners of the Mark Messier Leadership Award and King Clancy Memorial Trophy, will be announced Tuesday, June 20, at the 2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards, a special event at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas that will honor the League's leaders both on and off the ice. The winners of the 2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards also will be recognized the following day at the 2017 NHL Awards at T Mobile Arena.
Following are the finalists for the NHL Foundation Player Award, in alphabetical order:
Travis Hamonic, D, New York Islanders
A reliable defenseman throughout his seven-season NHL career, Hamonic has used his personal experiences to positively impact the community. Through his D-Partner Program, Hamonic has bonded with and directly touched the lives of more than 200 children who, at a young age, have suffered the loss of a parent. The 26-year-old St. Malo, Man., native has spent more than $50,000 hosting D-Partner Program participants at Islanders games, providing VIP treatment as well as special meet-and-greets. Hamonic also has served as an event ambassador for the Children's Wish Foundation and spearheaded various Islanders community events, including the team's school and hospital visits.
Wayne Simmonds, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
Simmonds, one of the top scorers in the NHL, has hosted Wayne's Road Hockey Warriors each summer since 2012. Aimed at providing opportunities for youth in his hometown of Scarborough, Ont., to learn and play hockey, Simmonds has raised more than $100,000 through this annual event that features several other NHL players. The 28-year-old also has purchased private suites at Flyers games for military personnel, hosted a Make-A-Wish experience and actively supported the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF). Inspired by his similar background, Simmonds joined the ESYHF board in 2014, often spending time on his off days with children from the program.
NHL players have a longstanding tradition of supporting charities and other important causes in their communities. NHL member clubs are constant in their quest to help local schools, hospitals and charitable organizations. Clubs submit nominations for the NHL Foundation Player Award, with the finalists selected by a judging panel. This award was first presented in 1998.
The finalists for NHL Trophies are being announced by NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA Sports in Canada during pregame programming for the Stanley Cup Playoffs through Tuesday, May 2. The series of announcements continues on Wednesday, April 26, when the finalists for the Jack Adams Award will be unveiled.
2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena
The 2017 NHL Awards returns to Las Vegas and includes the NHL Expansion Draft in a two-hour television program. The 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft will celebrate the League's top talent from the 2016-17 season and reveal the initial roster of the League's 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights, on Wednesday, June 21, at T-Mobile Arena.
Televised live in the United States on NBCSN and in Canada on Sportsnet at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, the 2017 NHL Awards will showcase hockey and Hollywood's biggest stars with the excitement and energy that only Las Vegas can provide. As part of the program, the Golden Knights' 30 selections in the NHL Expansion Draft will be revealed, providing the home fans - and national viewing audience - the opportunity to learn the initial composition of the team's roster. The show will highlight team majority owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee as well as select players chosen by the Golden Knights, who begin NHL play in 2017 18.
Information on an exclusive ticket pre-sale for Golden Knights season-ticket holders will be sent by the club in the coming days. This opportunity is for tickets to the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. Tickets will be available for purchase to the general public beginning on Wednesday, May 3, at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT.
A full lineup of presenters and entertainment, as well as official fan travel and hospitality packages through PrimeSport, will be announced at a future date. In addition, fans can tweet about the event using the official hashtag #NHLAwards.