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NHL’er Duncan Keith in the running for humanitarian award

Former Penticton Panthers player has donated through Keith’s Relief to OSNS
Chicago Blackhawks Duncan Keith with a little help from (left to right) Aleigha, Colton and Foster do the official sod turning for the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre Play Court. The upgrade of the court is just one of the improvements being made through a three-year commitment by the Keith Relief charity. Mark Brett/Western News

Duncan Keith, an NHL player for the Chicago Blackhawks who previously played hockey in Penticton, was nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

The trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

Keith founded Keith Relief in 2011 as a way to alleviate financial and emotion burdens of families and individuals suffering from medical crisis.

Related: NHL’ers donation makes play space possible at OSNS

In 2017, the defenceman made his first donation to the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre in Penticton, which created a new outdoor play court. It is made from a mix of new and recycled rubber tire material to provide better grip and offers improved accessibility for children of all ages and developmental levels.

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Keith entered a three-year partnership with OSNS — with the play court being the first of several planned projects — to enhance the facility which assists families and children throughout the South Okanagan and Similkameen. The partnership has a two-faceted schedule with some of the money also going to help families in financial crisis in the care of their children.

Related: Keith Relief for the kids

Keith, who grew up in Fort Frances, Ont., played for the Penticton Panthers (now known as the Penticton Vees) in the British Columbia Hockey League for the 1999-2001 seasons. He had a stand-out junior career in Penticton and was recruited by Michigan State University. After being drafted 54thoverall in the second round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, he played a second year in college before joining the Kelowna Rockets for 37 games.

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He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the 2003-2004 season and is a two-time James Norris Trophy winner, a Conn Smyth Trophy winner and has helped his team win the Stanley Cup three times.

Related: NHL’er Keith hoping to raise awareness

Nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy were selected by their respective NHL clubs. The winner will be chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. The winner will receive a $40,000 donation from the NHL Foundation to benefit a charity or charities of the winner’s choice. The two runners-up will each receive a $5,000 donation. Finalists will be announced on April 30 and the winner revealed on June 20 during the 2018 NHL Awards.

Kristi Patton | Editor
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Duncan Keith enjoys tea time with Aleigha Chaffey (left) and Ciara Jones during a visit to the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre. The Chicago Blackhawks star is wanting to raise awareness about the work done at the centre. Mark Brett/Western News
Chicago Black Hawks Duncan Keith attempts to apply some colour to the start of the 2017 Colours4Kids fundraising run at LocoLanding. It’s estimated at least 700 people took part in the annual event in support of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre. Mark Brett/Western News