Hockey Shows Its Heart

NHL Awards Show Pays Homage To The Victims And Survivors Of A Tough Year

From personal tragedies to mass shootings, this may go down as one of the most tumultuous years on record. Through it all, the hockey world showed why this is the ultimate team game by banding together to lift up one another during tough times.

No one knows that better than Brian Boyle, who didn't wage his personal battle with cancer alone. He not only had the support of his family and friends, the Hingham, Mass., native also had the backing of the hockey community in New Jersey, where he had a career year with the Devils, and from fans around the country.

"The people who came together to try to lift me up, from players to the fans in Jersey and elsewhere, were unbelievable. People are good; they're good people," Boyle said after accepting the Bill Masterton Award, which is given to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Those qualities were on display as the hockey world came together for the NHL Awards Show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

More than just the personal struggles, mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla., hit too close to home for the hockey community. And like the rest of society, players and teams tried to come to grips with the senseless violence that has become all too prevalent in today's society.

Members of the Marjory Stoneman High School hockey team, which won the Florida state title days after 17 fellow students and teachers were killed, were recognized during the ceremony. So too were the survivors and first responders from an Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that killed 58 country music fans, days before the Golden Knights played their first home game just blocks from the scene.

And there was the tragic bus crash near Armley, Saskatchewan, that claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, including their coach Darcy Haugan, who was honored with the inaugural Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award, for his impact on the Humboldt community, and hockey in general.

And while the players, coaches, officials and fans turned out to salute the accomplishments of those who had outstanding seasons, they made sure to remember all those who were lost or impacted by the tragic events of the 2017-18 season.

"Bad things happened this year that were just devastating," Boyle said. "It's how we react to them that restores your faith in humanity. I saw that firsthand this season."




Who is your favorite 2023/2024 NHL Rookie?
Connor Bedard
Matthew Knies
Brock Faber
Logan Stankoven
Logan Cooley
Total votes: 4