June 19, 2019
Jason Zucker has never cared about the accolades when it comes to his community service work. He does it simply because he feels like it's the right thing to do.
Still, he was honored at the NHL Awards Show on Wednesday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, an award given annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.
"I was more nervous there than I've ever been playing in a hockey game," Zucker joked. "It was a lot of fun. It was fun to be able to share it with my family."
It's the second year in a row Zucker was named a finalist for the award. He has put most of his focus into the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
He and his wife Carly launched the #GIVE16 campaign a couple of years ago, and it has raised nearly $1.5 million. That helped fund the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio, a state-of-the-art space located in the lobby of the hospital designed to provide young patients with an escape.
His work in the Twin Cities became more focused after he built a special bond with Tucker Helstrom, a young cancer patient. Helstrom died on July 2, 2016, and since then, Zucker has been doing everything in his power to keep his memory alive.
"It really put things in perspective for me," Zucker said. "As much as this sport is a big part of my life, in a lot of ways, that showed me that it's also a very, very small part of my life in the grand scheme of things."
As for how he builds on this positive momentum?
"I don't know yet," Zucker said. "That's what we've got to figure out. We are excited to figure that out and keep moving forward. We are just getting started. We have a lot of years ahead of us. We are looking forward to keeping it going."
COURTESY: Dane MIzutani - Pioneer Press