Kenan Thompson is looking forward to hosting the 2022 NHL Awards again


Kenan Thompson is looking forward to hosting the 2022 NHL Awards again

Kenan Thompson said he looks forward to hosting the 2022 NHL Awards on Tuesday, three years after he hosted the last live edition of the event before the coronavirus pandemic.

The Emmy-winning actor and comedian will take center stage at Armature Works in Tampa (7:00 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS) to honor the NHL’s top players during the hour-long show.

“Hopefully everyone will enjoy it,” Thompson said. “We’re going to keep it light and moving. It’s not about me, it’s about them and other people in the community being uplifting, whether it’s helping with diversity or just generally giving back or being a good, genuine example of what a good NHL citizen is should be. That’s what the night is about.”

Thompson said he will draw on some of his experiences from 2019 when he hosted the Las Vegas event.

“It was great,” he said. “No. 1, we were in Vegas, so that’s always fun, and it was a big, huge room and that [Vegas Golden] Knights just had [reached the Stanley Cup Final] the year before, so it was a blast for the hockey community out there in Nevada, which is pretty new. It was nice to see that. And we had fun seeing the players outside of their pads and seeing them as people. It was really cool.”

Although NHL superstars and celebrities will be in attendance, what Thompson says is most looking forward to meeting the awards presenters and hearing stories from them.

Presenters include Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici, who behind the glass spotted a cancerous mole on the neck of Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Red Hamilton; Calgary Flames Assistant General Manager and ALS survivor Chris Snow; Milton Academy (Massachusetts) player Jake Thibeault, who was paralyzed by an injury in September 2021; and emergency backup goalie Thomas Hodges, who overcame his blindness in one eye to play in one game for the Anaheim Ducks this season.

“I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” Thompson said. “To amplify the voices that need to be heard for what they do in the world. It makes everyone feel best. The players obviously commit so much and sacrifice a lot, but it’s also nice to have John Q Everyman or Everywoman, the people who form the web of support around the league. I think that’s just as important.”

Five awards will be presented during the show; the Hart Trophy (NHL Most Valuable Player), Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie), Norris Trophy (Best Defender), Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), and Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player, voted for by the NHL Players’ Association).

Winners of nine previously announced NHL awards will also be recognized during the show, as will Noel Acton, winner of MassMutual’s 2022 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, and Lane Hutson, winner of the EJ McGuire Award of Excellence on draft nominees , which best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

The three finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award will also be announced during the show.

Thompson, who grew up in Georgia, said he wasn’t a hockey fan until high school, when he landed a role on D2: The Mighty Ducks.

“It was purely because of this movie,” Thompson said. “Before that, I didn’t even know how to roller-skate. Hockey wasn’t a big deal when I was a kid; we basically watched football or basketball or baseball. But my 15th birthday on the first day of hockey camp, it was like something so concrete I couldn’t pull myself away from it, and then I actually learned how to skate and play, and then it turned out that the movies also such a classic chapter in American hockey history, so I was happy.

Thompson, the longest-serving cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” recently wrapped his 19th season. He still found time to watch hockey games and even attend some New York Rangers playoff games.

“When the garden rocks, everyone is happy,” he said. “It’s a very intimate place. … it’s a very electric vibe, it’s really cool.”

Thompson heard about the Watch Party at Madison Square Garden for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning while the Rangers were out and said it helps improve the fan experience. The Colorado Avalanche were away for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday but hosted a watch party at the Ball Arena.

“I’m so glad the sport is taking the whole watch party/tailgate thing into the finals and playoffs for cities when the team goes out of town,” he said. “I’m so surprised it’s taken this long but over the last 5-10 years this watch party thing has been the way to go. That’s how you get people to support the economy around the sport and in your city and just come out and have a good time and keep that vibe going. It’s a good thing.”

With the Avalanche leading 2-1 in Wednesday’s best-of-7 series in Game 4, who does Thompson think will lift the trophy?

“The Avalanche, these guys are top scorers and they’ve proven that time and time again,” he said ahead of the Lightning’s 6-2 win on Monday. “And Tampa has to tune in and figure out how to get theirs up, but they’re going to figure it out because they’ve been fighting to get to this point all along. Hopefully it goes super deep and has a nice dramatic ending. Leave everything out on the ice.”

He’s hoping for an exciting end to exciting Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Unbelievable this year. So much skill and talent on display,” Thompson said. “I feel like there has been at least one Game 6 in every round. In the finals, all that talent and speed is really on display so you can see who’s really big, who’s really fast and who’s got skills.

You May Also Like