WHL graduate honoured with prestigious award at 2016 WHL Awards ceremony
Calgary, AB – WHL Commissioner Ron Robison announced today, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, that WHL graduate and former Medicine Hat Tiger Lanny McDonald is this year’s recipient of the WHL Governors Award. McDonald received the award at the 2016 WHL Awards ceremony earlier today in Calgary.
The WHL Governors Award is presented annually to an individual who, through their outstanding hockey and overall contributions to the game, has impacted on the growth and development of the WHL. The WHL Governors Award is the highest honour the WHL bestows on an individual who has been associated with the League.
While his hockey accomplishments are well documented, McDonald’s ongoing humanitarian work and tireless efforts to promote the game both in Canada and internationally make him most deserving of the WHL Governors Award.
A long-time supporter of the Special Olympics and various local and national charitable efforts, McDonald was the first recipient of the NHL’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1988 for exemplifying leadership on the ice and significant humanitarian efforts off the ice. Currently, McDonald serves as a Scotiabank Hockey Ambassador and regularly participates in community and charitable events. Most recently, McDonald returned from touring the Stanley Cup around villages in the Arctic Circle, delivering equipment and the joy of hockey along the way.
McDonald, who was one of the first WHL graduates inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, was appointed Chair of the Board of the Hockey Hall of Fame on July 1, 2015.
“Lanny McDonald is one of hockey’s greatest ambassadors. As a graduate of the WHL, Lanny continues to serve as an inspiration and ideal role model for young players in the system today,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “From the time he burst onto the scene with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the early 1970’s, Lanny has had an incredible impact on the game of hockey. From his Hall of Fame playing career to his extraordinary work as a humanitarian off the ice, Lanny will always have a special connection to all of us at the WHL.”
McDonald was a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers for two seasons from 1971 to 1973. In his first year with the Tigers, McDonald tallied 114 points (50g-64a) in 68 games to place eighth in League scoring. The following campaign, McDonald ranked third in the scoring race with 139 points (62g-77a) in 68 regular season games and was named to the WCHL First All-Star Team. The Tigers hoisted the WCHL Championship Trophy that season with McDonald potting a League-best 18 goals in the playoffs while his 37 points were second only to his linemate Tom Lysiak.
Over his WHL career with the Tigers and a brief six-game stint with the Calgary Centennials in 1970-71, McDonald collected 255 points (112g-143a) in 142 regular season games. He also recorded 41 points (20g-21a) in 24 postseason contests. The Toronto Maple Leafs selected McDonald fourth overall in the 1973 NHL Draft while Lysiak was drafted two spots earlier.
McDonald played 16 seasons in the NHL with the Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, McDonald hung up his skates. In 1987-88, McDonald was the inaugural recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which recognizes leadership abilities on and off the ice as well as contributions in the community. He was also awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1982-83 for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
McDonald reached two important milestones over his NHL career as he accumulated 500 goals and 1006 points in 1111 regular season games. It was an impressive feat as McDonald became the first WHL graduate to hit the 500-goal plateau in the NHL. In addition, he netted 84 playoff points (44g-40a) in 117 contests. The Hanna, AB product also captured the 1976 Canada Cup with Team Canada. For all his accomplishments throughout his decorated hockey career, McDonald was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 1992 class. McDonald is also the only Medicine Hat Tiger to have his jersey retired.