Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse named King Clancy Trophy finalist

Photo credit:Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
10 months ago
Edmonton Oilers alternate captain Darnell Nurse has been named a finalist for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy presented to the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
Nurse is named a finalist alongside Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee.
The Oilers rearguard, who is nominated for the second straight season, delivers a focus on diversity and inclusion through the power of sports in several community initiatives. He works closely with Free Play for Kids helping to provide marginalized children, with the opportunity to play sports in a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment.
Right to Play is another organization Nurse works alongside with a goal to protect, educate, and empower children to rise above adversity through sports. In 2021, he created the Darnell Nurse Excellence Scholarship, to award two scholarships each year to deserving students pursuing post-secondary aspirations. To further expand his humanitarianism he has sponsored players in the Greater Toronto Hockey League and serves as a prominent youth mentor. During the pandemic, he also worked with food banks and various healthcare initiatives.
Since the award was first handed off in 1988, an Edmonton player has only won three times. Kevin Lowe was first in 1990, then Ethan Moreau won it in 2009 and the last Oiler to win the trophy was Andrew Ference in 2014.
Backlund, has used his platform to bring awareness to a handful of worth causes. In honour of his mother-in-law, he is a supporter of the ALS Society of Alberta. Backlund and his wife have raised over $400,000 for the organization and have invited nearly 100 families affected by ALS to home games. He also serves as an ambassador for Kids Cancer Care and Special Olympics Calgary. In 2021 his spouse and him lost their beloved dog Lily, which recently has spark the two to team up with Parachutes for Pets to create Lily’s Legacy, a program that allows children in foster care to keep their pets while they are transitioning into care.
Lee, is a consistent part of team fundraising events. He became involved as a “Jambassador” for Jam Kancer in the Kan, to help individuals and families battling cancer. He hosted his first “Kancer Jam” raising money while playing the game Kan Jam. His efforts are in honour of 15-year-old cancer patient and friend Fenov Pierre-Louis who passed in 2018, but he continues his legacy through “Kancer Jams” and through funding academic scholarships in his name. He invites families affected by cancer to Islanders games and helps assist those struggling financially during the holiday season.
The winner will be revealed during the 2023 NHL awards in Nashville, TN on June 26th.

Aleena Aksenchuk is an intern with Oilersnation and the Nation Network. She can be found on Twitter at @A_Aksenchuk8 

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