Some NHL teams give out a player-of-the-game award at the end of every game, either to a player who had a big offensive game or worked particularly hard. During HBO’s 24/7, it was revealed that the Capitals handed out a hard hat, while the Penguins opted for a shovel. During the 2010-11 season, the Bruins passed around a vintage Bruins starter jacket.
The Blackhawks have used a WWE belt, the Rangers a fedora, and the Predators a fireman hat. But, as far as we know, the Canucks have never had a similar award, at least until this season.
Early in the season, we saw various Canucks wearing a Superman t-shirt and an Under Armour head band in a post-game interview, but it appears that they may have landed on a different, more west coast, award.
Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, and Zack Kassian have all been spotted wearing the Superman shirt and head band, but it hasn’t been seen since the end of October.
The Superman shirt as an award isn’t a bad choice. Heck, Kesler and Kevin Bieksa even have a bit of a connection to Superman, with Kesler sporting a Superman tattoo, with the “S” replaced by a “K”, while Bieksa gained some notoriety for using a Superman punch in a fight with Mike Richards back in 2009.
Of course, it’s more likely that they went with a Superman shirt as it was easy to find on a store rack with Man of Steel coming out this past summer rather than because of any special connection with Superman some of the Canucks might have. What the headband has to do with anything is anyone’s guess.
As mentioned, we haven’t seen the shirt or head band recently, but we did see a different item after the Canucks game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
Jeremy Welsh was an accomplished goal scorer in the NCAA, scoring 53 goals in 119 games with the Union College Dutchmen, but it took him a while to score his first NHL goal. It finally came late against the Blue Jackets, when the 25-year-old winger tipped a Ryan Stanton point shot past Sergei Bobrovsky in his 20th NHL game, meaning his first NHL goal came against a Vezina-winning goaltender — not too shabby.
After the game, Welsh was sporting some fancy new headgear during his post-game interviews with Dan Murphy and the rest of the media:
That’s awesome. As Welsh explains, the Canucks picked up the hat when they visited the Haida Gwaii (aka. the Queen Charlotte Islands) in September. The traditional handwoven and handpainted hat carries more meaning than a store-bought t-shirt and gives the team a connection to the Haida people, whose art and culture bear so much importance to the Pacific Northwest.
Using a Haida hat to honour the player of the game is also meant to show respect to the First Nations people, as explained by the Canucks public relations department.
It’s a nice touch, making the award a unique and meaningful gesture connected to the history of British Columbia and to Canucks fans throughout the province. It’s also worlds better than a t-shirt and head band.
Also, congratulations to Jeremy Welsh for being the first recipient of the hat. He’s been surprisingly good so far this season — he’s the only 4th liner on the team with a positive Fenwick and has won 52.4% of his faceoffs — and it’s nice to see him get rewarded for his efforts. It’s particularly nice since the Carolina Hurricanes are still paying $340,000 of his cap hit, so he’s actually taking up less than the league minimum salary from the Canucks’ salary cap.
Welsh is looking good so far and he’s looking even better in a Haida hat.Tags: Haida hat, Jeremy Welsh