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Calgary Flames

Backlund’s Future With Flames Unclear As He Claims Clancy



Mikael Backlund, the longest-serving member of the Calgary Flames, is arguably the most charitable and giving players in the NHL.

That’s why he heard his name called as the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy on Monday night in Nashville.

It didn’t come as a surprise to Calgarians. Backlund is an ambassador for Special Olympics Calgary and Kids Cancer Care. He, along with his wife and philanthropic partner, Frida, are huge supporters of the ALS Society of Alberta — a particularly personal cause — raising more than $400,000. They launched a program in partnership with Parachutes for Pets that, among other things, ensures children won’t be separated from their animal friends when transitioning into foster care.

The 34-year-old centre is the perfect choice as the NHLer who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

He was Calgary Flames’ nominee for the third straight year.

“I’m very honoured and humbled to receive this award,” said Backlund, whose win means a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice. “We as professional athletes live a privileged life, and we have a great opportunity. A little gesture from us can be a big thing in someone else’s world.”

Those gestures are automatic.

The same can’t be said for Backlund’s future with the Calgary Flames — the only franchise he’s known since he was drafted 24th overall in 2007.

With one year left on his current deal, he’s one of a handful of key players who GM Craig Conroy needs to make decisions on before they have a chance to walk away for nothing in unrestricted free agency next July. But he told reporters in Nashville that his future as a Flame is not in his control.

“It’s out of my hands. I’ve had discussions with Craig (Conroy) and my agent, and we’ll see what happens. I still have one more year with Calgary, and it’s not my decision if I stay (next season) or not,” said Backlund, who also finished sixth in the Selke voting. “We’ll see what happens.”

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