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Connor McDavid wins third Hart Trophy for NHL’s MVP after near unanimous vote

Connor McDavid won his third Hart Trophy – awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player – on Monday after a near unanimous vote.

The Edmonton Oilers center earned 195 of 196 first place votes, with the only other first place vote going to the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrňák.

McDavid enjoyed a stellar season for the Oilers, leading the league in goals, assists and points.

Although the 26-year-old has yet to taste Stanley Cup success, the importance of his personal accolades is hugely significant to Hart.

“Certainly, it’s not lost on me what these trophies mean in the grand scheme of our game,” McDavid said.

“To do it a number of times, it means a lot to me. Obviously, it’s not the motivating factor, but it’s special still.
I know the five-year-old me would be [upset] if I was taking it for granted or something like that, because I’m not. It’s special.”

McDavid previously won the Hart Trophy in 2017 and 2021. He becomes just the fifth player to win the award at least three times within his first eight NHL seasons alongside Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke, Bobby Orr and Alex Ovechkin.

In leading the league in goals, assists and points, McDavid is the fifth different player to do so and the first since Oilers legend Gretzky in the 1986-87 season.

It was an emotional awards ceremony for McDavid who was surprised on stage by the family of Ben Stelter, an Oilers superfan who had become close with the Oilers center and his Edmonton team before he died of cancer at the age of six in 2022.

Stelter had suffered from glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, for which he went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to treat.

During that time, Stelter joined the Oilers for morning skate arounds, lining up with the team for pre-match anthems and featuring on McDavid’s social media during the team’s 2022 Stanley Cup playoff run.

When the Stelter family joined McDavid on stage big embraces were exchanged.

“Wow,” McDavid told the audience. “That was an incredible surprise, and it means so much to me to be standing up here with the Stelters thinking about our buddy Ben.”

It was a memorable evening in more ways than one for McDavid as he also won the Ted Lindsay Award for the fourth time in his career. The accolade is presented “to the most outstanding player in the NHL,” as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association.

“I really feel that (the Ted Lindsay) is the most prestigious award that is given out here tonight in terms of hockey awards,” McDavid said. “To have your peers recognize you, they’re the ones you go to battle with every night, and for them to single you out, obviously, it’s really, really special.”

McDavid also was the winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy – given to the player “finishing the regular season as the league’s goal-scoring leader” – and the Art Ross Trophy – awarded to the player “who leads the NHL in scoring points at the end of the regular season.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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