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Canes’ Williams finalist for Mark Messier Leadership Award

‘Mr. Game 7’ talks Game 7

Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Willams, who has won three Stanley Cups and earned the nickname "Mr. Game 7," says the key is to "trust your instincts" before the Canes faced the Washington Capitals in the playoffs on April 24, 2019.
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Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Willams, who has won three Stanley Cups and earned the nickname "Mr. Game 7," says the key is to "trust your instincts" before the Canes faced the Washington Capitals in the playoffs on April 24, 2019.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams has been named one of three finalists for the 2018-19 Mark Messier Leadership Award, the NHL announced Wednesday.

The annual award is given to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community in growing the game of hockey.

Mark Messier personally selects the three finalists and the winner of the award.

In addition to Williams, the other finalists are Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and Nashville Predators forward Wayne Simmonds. The winner will be announced June 19 at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

In his first year as captain, Williams provided the veteran leadership needed to help the team reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009. He oversaw the Canes’ popular Storm Surge postgame celebrations, which helped strengthen the bond between players and fans.

Williams also is a mentor in the North Carolina youth hockey community, helping coach his son’s U10 Junior Hurricanes team and assisting during local girls hockey events.

In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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