John Hamm introduced Alex Trebek at the 2019 NHL Hockey Awards and every person in the sold-out crowd at Mandalay Bay’s convention centre gave him a standing ovation. “Growing up in Canada you realize very early on that hockey is in your DNA,” said the 78-year-old Alex Trebek, making his first pubic appearance since announcing his battle with pancreatic cancer. “Thanks to the hockey world for all your support.” Alex Trebek is a national treasure, and here’s ten other takeaways from the show.
Nikita Kucherov is the most dominant player in hockey. Kucherov, right wing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, picked up the Hart Memorial Trophy for MVP, receiving 164 first place tallies from the 171 ballots. He won three awards last night. “So humbled,” he said, “To be up here again.”
Sidney Crosby is hockey’s class act, with time for everyone and a great ambassador of the game. “It takes a lot of people to support you and get you here, and it’s cool to incorporate that into playing at this level,” he said, still baby-faced at 31. “I always appreciate being here, it’s a celebration just getting to go out every night and do what we love.”
Connor McDavid’s fashion game remains … interesting. Wearing a dark suit with a tied-string belt, he brought a modernist take to a reserved fashion evening and, while he didn’t necessary win the night, he did, as always, add his own quirky twist—the kid took a shot, which is good.
Congratulations to Elias Pettersson, the winger for the Vancouver Canucks was the Rookie of the Year.
And big ups to Carey Price. Price is 11-year-old Anderson Whitehead’s favourite player and a viral video of their initial meeting went live this season. Whitehead lost his mother to cancer and was so visibly shaken when Price surprised him onstage, the kid could barely speak. Price gave the young man a hug. By every tough guy in the room, it was well received.
Wayne Simmonds, of the Nashville Predators, is the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Messier was in the house and still looks like he could skate through a wall.
Las Vegas is officially hockey mad. In addition to Vegas Knights paraphernalia everywhere on the Strip, craft beer beacons like Beerhaus near the stadium serve as NHL battlegrounds. Inside the show, fans chanted: “Let’s Go Knights!” Bringing hockey to the desert really, really worked.
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to, but it’s back to work now,” said Brent Burns, defensemen for the San Joe Sharks. Resplendent in his trademark beard and crooked hockey teeth smile, Burns said he was proud to represent his team. “Of course none of us do this for individual accolades,” he said. “That said, it’s cool to be here, be amongst the best in the world.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy for Goaltender of the Year. The 24-year-old Russian prodigy is the first Vezina Trophy winner in franchise history for the Lightning. Seems like a really solid kid.
The St. Louis Blues, introduced by Jon Hamm, took the stage with their 2019 Stanley Cup trophy. The trophy, big as R2D2, glistened so brightly it could be seen way out in the stadiums very back rows. Will it ever come back to Canada? In 2020, let’s do it for Alex Trebek.