This marks the second time that Staal has been nominated for this honor, which is annually awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy contribution in his community.
The King Clancy Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice, and has made a noteworthy contribution in his community.
This season, Staal celebrated the fourth year of his "Eric's Entourage" program, in which he purchases a luxury suite -- fully equipped with food, snacks and drinks -- for each Hurricanes home game, and donates it to local children's charities. The children attending the games become members of "Eric's Entourage," and receive a goody bag that includes an "Eric's Entourage" t-shirt signed by Staal. Throughout the season, several of the groups using the suite visit Eric after games for a meet-and-greet.
Along with the "Eric's Entourage" program, Staal is an integral part of the Kids N' Community Foundation's fundraising events. He is one of the team's most-requested players at the Foundation's golf tournament, and fans gather around him in droves at annual Foundation events like Casino Night and Wine Tasting, and the popular Skate with the Canes event.
Staal also participates in team hospital visits, this year visiting Rex Hospital in Raleigh.
On the ice, Staal, 27, leads all Carolina skaters this season with 24 goals, 45 assists and 69 points, and ranks tied for 21st among all NHL players in scoring (through games of April 5). The Thunder Bay, Ont., native notched his 250th NHL goal on March 30, making him just the third player to score 250 goals for the Carolina franchise, and the fastest to reach that mark, doing so in his 637th game. Earlier this season, Staal broke the franchise's all-time assists streak record when he recorded assists in 11 consecutive games, and his 12-game points streak set a new Hurricanes record since the team's relocation.
Staal has scored 250 goals and earned 323 assists (573 points) in 641 NHL regular-season games since being drafted by the Hurricanes' with the second overall pick in 2003.
This marks the third end-of-season honor for Staal. On Thursday, the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) named Staal the Hurricanes' Most Valuable Player for the third time in his career. Also on Thursday, it was announced that a vote of his teammates earned Staal the team's coveted Steve Chiasson Award for determination and dedication to the game.
The Carolina Hurricanes play their final game of 2011-12 on Saturday at BankAtlantic Center against the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m.