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Calgary Flames

Philanthropic Flames Centre Backlund Finalist for NHL’s King Clancy Trophy



Calgary Flames centre Mikael Backlund had arguably his best personal season yet this year, despite the team’s disappointing finish. He didn’t make the cut as a finalist in the Selke voting, but on Wednesday it was announced he’s up for something that’s extremely meaningful for both the player and the city he plays in.

Backlund, who has just one more season on his current contract, was named one of the three finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy — given to the player showing leadership qualities on and off the ice, along with noteworthy humanitarian contributions in the community.

The longest-serving Flames player has deep roots in Calgary philanthropic community and has earned the local nod for the King Clancy for three straight seasons.

Chosen from that list by a committee of senior NHL executives, including Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly.

The other two finalists are Anders Lee of the New York Islanders and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse.

Alberta, apparently, is feeling the impact of its hockey teams’ contributions to the community. In Calgary, Backlund is a fan favourite for many reasons. His meaningful and genuine engagement with the people of this city is second to none.

He supports the ALS Society of Alberta in honour of his mother-in-law, with wife Frida losing her mother to the horrible disease when she was a teenager and Calgary Flames AGM Chris Snow battling ALS the past four years. Countless families affected by ALS have been guests to home games courtesy of the Backlunds, and the family has helped raise more than $400,000 for the nonprofit group.

Backlund also serves as an ambassador for Kids Cancer Care and Special Olympics Calgary, carving out time to take part in memorable events and creating lasting memories.

As dedicated pet owners, the Backlunds also partner with Parachutes for Pets with a special Lily’s Legacy initiative named after their longtime furry family member Lily who died in 2021. Parachutes for Pets is a program that keeps children forced into foster care to keep their family pets with them

“I’ve always been inspired by people who help others that struggle,” Backlund said in a league release. “I am aware that I have been given the opportunity to live a privileged life and know that a small gesture from me can mean the world to other people.”

Backlund is the frontrunner for the captaincy if he extends his contract, and has shown he’s willing to battle a coach like Darryl Sutter when push comes to shove.

The King Clancy winner will be revealed live during the 2023 NHL Awards at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on June 26.

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