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Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse named runner up for the 2023 King Clancy Award

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Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
8 months ago
Edmonton Oilers alternate captain Darnell Nurse has been named the runner up 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.”
Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund was the recipient of the award on Monday night at the NHL Awards in Nashville, TN.
Backlund has used his platform to bring awareness to a handful of worthy 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 he lost their beloved dog Lily, which recently has sparked 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.
Nurse, however, exemplified tremendous contributions to his community by focusing 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.
The Oilers blueliner also works alongside Right to Play 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. He has sponsored players in the Greater Toronto Hockey League to further expand his humanitarianism and serves as a prominent youth mentor. During the pandemic, he also worked with food banks and various healthcare initiatives.
Only three Oilers players have won the award starting with Kevin Lowe in 1990, Ethan Moreau in 2009, and Andrew Ference in 2014.
Nurse was a finalist for the award alongside Backlund, and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee.
Lee, became involved as a “Jambassador” for Jam Kancer in the Kan, to help individuals and families battling cancer. 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 hosted his first “Kancer Jam” raising money while playing the game Kan Jam. He invites families affected by cancer to Islanders games and helps assist those struggling financially during the holiday season.

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

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