Chara named a finalist for Messier Leadership Award

June 02, 2009 - 6:27 am

Boston'€™s Zdeno Chara, Pittsburgh'€™s Sidney Crosby and Calgary'€™s Jarome Iginla are the three finalists for the 2008-09 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, the National Hockey League announced today. The 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman is also a 2008-09 finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the best defensmean in the NHL for last season.  The Messier award recognizes an individual as a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. It honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes. Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans in compiling a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and the ultimate winner is Messier'€™s alone.  The winner will be announced Thursday, June 18, during the 2009 NHL Awards that will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and on CBC in Canada. Messier, a six-time Stanley Cup champion and 16-time NHL ® All-Star in his 25 NHL seasons, is widely viewed as one of the greatest sports leaders of all time. Among his numerous hockey and humanitarian honors, the naming of the Mark Messier Skyway at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey for his 15 years of dedication and commitment to help raise millions of dollars to benefit children with cancer and other serious blood disorders is one of the most special. Since Chara was named captain of the Bruins before the 2006-07 season, the Black & Gold have gone from missing the playoffs in his first year, to winning 41 games and qualifying for the 2008 postseason in 2007-2008, to capturing the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference by going 53-19-10 this past season. He has been named a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the league'€™s top defenseman for the second straight year and his goal totals in his three seasons with the Bruins have gone from 11 to 17 to 19. In addition to his on-ice achievements, Chara has been extremely active off the ice as well. Last offseason, he visited Tanzania and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to focus attention on Right to Play, the international charitable organization that uses sport and play to enhance child development in areas of disadvantage. Chara also raised $24,000 for Right to Play by winning the Hardest Shot competition at 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend after getting his competitors, the competitors'€™ respective NHL clubs, the NHL and the NHLPA to contribute to a pot to go to the victor'€™s charity of choice. Chara won the competition with a record-setting 105.4 MPH blast.