Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar is the recipient of the 2022 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. Per the league, the trophy is awarded “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
The team had the following to say with Kopitar’s victory:
As a spokesperson and contributor in several team fundraising events, Kopitar strives to represent the organization at every opportunity, including local institutions such as the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Make a Wish Foundation, Wags and Walks and Kings Care Foundation. Kopitar also hosts a hockey academy yearly in his native Slovenia, which serves aspiring youth players who may not have access to similar programs. Typically attracting nearly 200 players per year, the academy has drawn players from more than 15 countries.
The winner of the award is chosen by Messier himself, and he announced the selection live during ESPN’s broadcast of Game 1 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Final.
Given out since the 2006-07 season, Kopitar becomes the second King to win this award. Former Kings captain and fresh retiree Dustin Brown won the trophy back in 2014 after guiding the Kings to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. The Slovenian veteran forward has worn a letter on his jersey for Los Angeles since 2008 and has been the captain since replacing Brown in 2016. With two Stanley Cups under his belt, Kopitar’s 1,210 games are second in Kings history. He’s also just one of four players to register at least 1,000 points as a King.
The 34-year-old remains under contract with the Kings until 2024.