Since the 1987-88 season, the New York Rangers have presented the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The fans vote for the Rangers player that “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award is named after New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty. The winner is awarded a trophy and a $25,000 donation is made in their name to the Steven McDonald Foundation.
McDonald was a diehard Rangers fan, and though he passed away in 2017, his memory lives on through this award and the players recognized each year by the fans.
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And the Award Goes To
The fans have spoken and declared Chris Kreider worthy of this honor this season. Kreider has had an outstanding season, the best one of his career. This is the first time he has won the award in the ten seasons he has been with the team. Kreider now has 52 goals for the season, when in the past, the most he had was 28. Everyone has seen a new Kreider on the ice; he has been more consistent and confident.
Besides having an outstanding season, many fans also consider him the de facto captain, despite the rangers not giving anyone the “C” this season. The captaincy duties have been spread among six players; however, there is no doubt Kreider has a significant role on the team. He is the longest-tenured Ranger, and he plays a vital role not only on the ice but in helping the younger players adjust to the team, NHL life, and the soon-to-be playoff appearance.
Kreider’s Take on Winning the Award
When they announced Kreider’s name, and he went to accept, you could tell he was affected by it. Even in his interview during the first intermission, he was visibly emotional when discussing the award and what it meant to him. When asked about his thoughts on the award, he mentioned that there were guys on the team who deserved it as well. He went on to say, “It’s probably the greatest honor I’ve experienced as a hockey player, knowing what that award means.”
He also mentioned that it was hard for him to stay composed. Kreider noted that the younger guys have not had a chance to understand what it really means. He said the idea that the McDonald family is a part of the Rangers family and a part of the city was something he learned early.
If anyone can get the young players to understand the tradition and what it means to New York City, it is Kreider. It is not another trophy to put on a mantle but a way of life unique to the Rangers organization.
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