Patrik Elias in the Czech Republic and Zdeno Chara in Slovakia received Player of the Year honours in their native countries prior to their return to their NHL teams.
New Jersey winger Elias was awarded the Golden Stick during the Czech award ceremony in Karlovy Vary on Saturday. A panel of coaches and journalists gave him 428 points, ending the four-year reign of Jaromir Jagr (Avangard Omsk), who was second with 357 points. Jan Marek (Metallurg Magnitogorsk) finished in third place with 334 points.
It was the first time that the 33-year-old was voted the best Czech player. Last season, Elias had 31 goals and 47 assists in 77 NHL games and became the New Jersey Devils’ all-time leading scorer. In 747 NHL games he notched 644 points (265 goals, 379 assists). The Devils are the only NHL club Elias has played for, winning two Stanley Cups. He also represented the Czech Republic in two Olympics and three World Championships winning bronze in Turin 2006.
“I immensely appreciate this, it’s my first individual award and a huge honour to be included among those legends who received the trophy in the past,” Elias said at the ceremony.
During the national team camp, Slovakia also had an award night, handing out Golden Pucks. Zdeno Chara, Boston’s towering defenceman, was voted Slovakia’s Player of the Year. It’s just the second time in history that a defenceman won the honour.
Chara contributed to Boston’s run in the Eastern Conference as the only team to allowed less than 200 goals. With 50 points he also contributed to the offence. His performance earned him the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s Best Defenceman.
Best Goalkeeper: Jaroslav Halak (Montreal Canadiens)
Best Defenceman: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins)
Best Forward: Marian Hossa (Detroit Red Wings)
Best Rookie: Tomas Tatar (HKM Zvolen)
Best Coach: Anton Tomko (HC Kosice)
Best Women’s Player: Zuzana Tomcikova (Bemidji State University)