2015 was another amazing year for NHL star goalie Carey Price. Arguably the best-known export of the tiny community of Anahim Lake, Price’s awards are starting to pile up.
This latest honour, the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year, places the athlete in a separate category from his other big win, the Toronto Star’s Lou Marsh award as Canadian athlete of the year, which he took home on December 15.
“This one’s special,” said Price. “Being compared with athletes from other sports, it’s unique for me. I’m very honoured. It’s something I’ll look back at the end of my athletic career and probably highlight one of these as one of the top.”
Already loaded with trophies and awards for a spectacular season, the Montreal Canadiens goaltender dominated the voting for the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year. Price collected 53 per cent of the votes (30) cast by sports editors and broadcasters across the country. Sprinter Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., was second with 28 per cent of the votes (16).
Price is the first hockey player to win since Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won it for the third time in 2010. He’s the first goaltender to take home the award, which has been handed out since 1932.
This latest win adds to his already impressive 2015 list. In addition to becoming the first hockey goaltender to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, he also took home Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender, the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association and earned the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL MVP as judged by his fellow players. He also shared the William M. Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Price hit career highs with 44 wins, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage for Montreal in the 2014-15 season.
Price, a member of the Ulkatcho First Nation, has always been proud of his heritage and encouraged First Nations youth to follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles. His acceptance speech for the Vezina Trophy in Las Vegas in June included a strong message to that effect.
“People would say it’s very improbable that I’d make it to this point in my life,” he told them. “I made it here because I wasn’t discouraged. I worked hard to get here, took advantage of every opportunity that I had. And I would really like to encourage First Nations youth to be leaders in their communities. Be proud of your heritage, and don’t be discouraged from the improbable.”
He is also about to become a father. His wife Angela is due in the spring, which could be right in the middle of the NHL playoffs.
“There’s obviously a big life step that me and my wife have been taking this year,” he said. “That’s been a lot on its own, to go with everything else. I guess that’s one thing that’s kept me grounded, realizing that life is so much bigger than just sports.”
With files from CBC News