The NHL wraps up its lengthy NHL Awards announcement period by bringing out the finalists for the Jack Adams Award and the NHL Foundation Award. The Jack Adams goes to “the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success” and the nominees are:
Hitchcock was at the helm for a huge turnaround for the Blues. He arrived in early November to replace Davis Payne. The Blues were off to a bad start in the season, boasting a 6-7-0 record and a 14th place conference standing at the time of the coaching change. But then Hitchcock changed their game and they came out at the other end with a 43-15-11 record, a second place conference standing and their first division title since 1999-2000.
Like Hitchcock, MacLean came to a team that was in the basement. The Senators were 13th in the East last season, but MacLean, in his first year as a coach, turned them around completely. They finished the regular season in eighth place with 92 points, one of the best turnarounds by a rookie coach. MacLean has 11 years of playing experience under his own belt, though, which could contribute to his knowledge of the game and his players.
Tortorella orchestrated a big jump for the Rangers, too, vaulting them to first in the East and the division title for the first time since 1993-94. The Rangers had an unusual schedule this season, starting out playing the Premiere games in Europe and then being on the road until nearly the end of October because of construction at Madison Square Garden. Plus, there was the whole matter of the Winter Classic and its impact on the schedule.
The Jack Adams winner is decided by a vote from the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association and will be revealed at the NHL Awards on June 20.
The NHL Foundation Award is given 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 nominees are:
- Mike Fisher (Nashville Predators)
- John-Michael Liles (Toronto Maple Leafs)
- Matt Moulson (New York Islanders)
Fisher has ties to many charities in the Nashville area, including a homeless shelter not far from Bridgestone Arena, the children’s hospital at Vanderbilt and Cottage Cove Urban Ministries, a non-profit geared towards helping inner-city youth. He’s donated $40,000 to Cottage Cove, given Predators tickets to youth organizations through Fisher’s Friends, written a book with all profits going to charity and attended many charitable events around the city with wife Carrie Underwood.
Liles also started a program that donates suites at Air Canada Centre to worthy kids who are charitable in their community and combat the problem of bullying. He’s also donated to First Book Canada, which provides appropriate books to kids who might not otherwise have any. On Christmas morning he served meals for three hours at a Toronto-area homeless shelter. He’s often the face of the Maple Leafs’ charitable interests, appearing at many events for good causes. But he also knows where he came from: he donated $90,000 to Culver Academy in Indiana, where he went to school. This donation was enough to cover locker room renovations, training equipment, tournament fees, equipment purchases and other expenses for Culver’s season. (Liles is good at supporting his roots: he’s a minority owner of the Indiana Ice, his former junior team.)
Moulson kept it in the family and paired up with his brother-in-law, Jonathan Quick, to start the 326 Foundation. It benefits both the Islanders Children’s Foundation and the Kings Care Foundation. Moulson chipped in $500 for each goal he scored. With his career-high 36 goals, that means $18,000 for his foundation. He’s given $32,500 to the foundation in two years through his goal-scoring. He’s also gotten with the Wounded Warrior Project to create a unique game day experience for a military veteran and one of their family members. The guests attend an Islanders game and then have a VIP experience where they tour the locker room afterwards. This happened at all 41 Islanders home games this season. Moulson is the team’s representative for the Islanders Hockey Academy, Hockey Fights Cancer and the You Can Play Project.
The Foundation Award winner will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 20 and will receive $25,000 for their charity of choice.