L.A. Kings to Play a 'Big Part' in Star-Studded NHL Awards Ceremony
The celebration isn't quite over for fans of the newly crowned Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
During the annual NHL Awards, airing live starting at 4 p.m. PT from the Wynn in Las Vegas, the Kings will be honored along with a wide range of league players. Doling out the awards are a few of Hollywood's biggest hockey fans, including actors Kevin Connolly, Colin Hanks, Joshua Jackson, Ray Liotta, Cory Monteith, Adam Pally, Eric Stonestreet, Matthew Perry, Vince Vaughn and Michael Vartan; Dancing With the Stars professional Cheryl Burke; hockey legends Ted Lindsay and Mark Messier; and sportscasters Pierre McGuire, Eddie Olczyk, Andi Petrillo, PJ Stock, Kathryn Tappen, Erin Andrews and Barry Melrose, who coached the Kings from 1992-95.
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Adding to the festivities are appearances from Will Arnett, Tracy Morgan and Kevin Smith, with two live performances from Nickelback.
"The show is a celebration of hockey and the past year in the league," NHL executive vp content Charles Coplin told The Hollywood Reporter. "Because the Kings were such a great part of the story, organically the team is going to be a big part of what we're doing [with the broadcast]. There are so many connections among celebrities and the Kings that I think this year it's kind of unique. Those worlds really come together in a nice way."
The show, airing live on the NBC Sports Network, aims to differentiate itself from ESPN's ESPY Awards by truly celebrating the love of hockey, which has proven to be an "interesting challenge," says Coplin.
"It’s an entertainment show, it’s not a game," he explains. "So you want to make sure that it has a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement, a lot of comedy -- which is obviously very different than what you go to a hockey game for.
"But the thing that makes the show unique is that it's truly a celebration of the National Hockey League -- the players who play in the game and the executives who are a part of the game," Coplin adds. "So for us, we think what makes it special is that it’s the only show of its kind that really celebrates the sport of hockey and the National Hockey League."
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In addition to the water-cooler moments and viral videos that Coplin hopes to produce with the show, the players will ditch their jerseys in favor of suits -- with menswear designer John Varvatos dressing seven of the nominees -- in the hope of bringing home a coveted NHL trophy.
Three awards are determined by the results of the season: The Art Ross Trophy for regular-season scoring leader, the Richard Trophy for regular-season goal scorer and the Jennings Trophy for the goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest goals during the regular-season. Several other awards are voted on via a ranking system by the Professional Hockey Writers Association: the Selke Trophy to the top defensive forward, the Lady Byng Trophy for skill and sportsmanship, the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey, the Vezina Trophy to the top goaltender, the Norris Trophy to the top defenseman and the Hart Trophy for the most valuable player to his team.
"There’s a little bit of tension in terms of being in the spotlight, as in however a certain player looks at potentially winning an award," says Coplin. "I would think that there’s a little bit of nervousness because it’s a special honor and I’m sure everybody would love to win their awards -- but I think one of the things that make this really great is the camaraderie between the guys and the fact that the season’s over so everybody can relax."
Until the puck drops next season, that is.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci