At the age of 44, Jaromir Jagr led the Florida Panthers with 66 points as he helped them to their best regular season in franchise history.
On Wednesday, Jagr was honored at the NHL Awards with the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
The Panthers had three finalists for the award show Wednesday at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The other two were Gerard Gallant and center Sasha Barkov.
Gallant finished second to Washington’s Barry Trotz for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the NHL’s coach of the year.
Barkov finished second in voting to Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar for the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes to a player who exhibits a “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Barkov also placed sixth in the Selke Trophy voting for top defensive forward — also won by Kopitar.
Roberto Luongo finished fourth in voting for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league’s top goalie. It was won by Washington’s Braden Holtby over Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop.
Dale Tallon finished fourth for the General Manager of the Year award, which went to Pittsburgh’s Jim Rutherford.
Jagr became Florida’s fourth player honored at the NHL Awards since 2012. Brian Campbell won the Lady Byng in 2012 and top rookies Jonathan Huberdeau (2013) and Aaron Ekblad (2015) won the Calder Trophy.
This past season, Jagr set all sorts of milestones, including becoming the oldest NHL player to hit the 60-point mark.
“I think Jaromir and Bill Masterton were teammates on the ’67 North Stars,” host Will Arnett quipped. “I can’t believe I just made a joke about a guy who’s younger than me.”
Jagr wasn’t in Las Vegas — where he spends a good portion of his offseason — because he was said to be in the Czech Republic taking care of his ill father.
Jagr and the Panthers agreed to a new one-year contract in May.
“I am honored to receive the Masterton Trophy,” Jagr said in a statement.
“Many great players in the NHL with dedication to the game of hockey have earned this award and it is a privilege to be considered one of them. Hockey is my passion and it’s why I am motivated every day to play it at the highest level that I can.”
When told Jagr was the Panthers’ nominee for the award from the Florida chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association in March, goalie Roberto Luongo joked “who else would it be?”
Florida executive chairman Peter Luukko accepted the award on Jagr’s behalf, saying if any player personified the Masterton legacy, it is Jagr.
“This is a trophy which honors dedication and hard work and Jaromir is very proud to be part of that,’’ Luukko said.
“He wanted everyone to know, and I think we all do, that hockey is his passion. It’s what motivates him every day, gets him up and to that rink every day. He’s such a special guy.”
Chicago’s Patrick Kane had perhaps the biggest night of anyone as he swept the two MVP awards.
Not only did Kane win the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as voted on by his peers, but he also ran away with the Hart Memorial Trophy which was voted on by the PHWA.
Kane had 121 first-place votes to just 11 for Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby as the recent Stanley Cup winner finished second. Dallas’ Jamie Benn placed third with seven first-place votes.
Broward County native Shayne Gostisbehere, who plays for the Flyers, finished second to Chicago’s Artemi Panarin in voting for the Calder Trophy which goes to the league’s top rookie.
Los Angeles won two big awards as Drew Doughty won the Norris Award for top defenseman (Ekblad and Brian Campbell each received votes) with Kopitar winning the Selke.
Other award winners included Nashville’s Shea Weber (Mark Messier Leadership Award) and Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin (King Clancy Award).