Kenan Thompson looks forward to hosting 2022 NHL Awards again

Kenan Thompson looks forward to hosting 2022 NHL Awards again

Kenan Thompson looks forward to hosting 2022 NHL Awards again

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

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

“Hopefully everyone will enjoy it,” Thompson said. “We will 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 giving back in general or being a good, sincere example of what a good NHL citizen should be. That’s what the night is about.”

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

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

While there will be NHL superstars and celebrities in attendance, Thompson said he’s most looking forward to meeting and hearing stories from the awards’ presenters.

The presenters include Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici, who discovered from behind the glass a cancerous tumor 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 became paralyzed with an injury in September 2021; and emergency backup goalkeeper Thomas Hodges, who overcame blindness in one eye to play in a game for the Anaheim Ducks this season.

“I think that’s what I’m most excited about,” Thompson said. “Amplifying those voices that need to be heard for what they’re doing in the world. That will make everyone feel their best. Obviously the players are betting so much and sacrificing a lot, but it’s also nice to give to John Q Everyman or Everywoman, the people who are the support network 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 (top goalkeeper), Norris Trophy (top defender), Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), and Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players’ Association).

The winners of nine previously announced NHL awards will also be recognized at the show, as will Noel Acton, winner of the 2022 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award presented by MassMutual, and Lane Hutson, winner of the EJ McGuire Award of Excellence. , awarded to the design prospect who 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 he landed a part in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” in high school.

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

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

“When the garden rocks, everyone is happy,” he said. “It’s a very intimate venue. … 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 Final between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning when the Rangers were underway, and said it will help improve the fans’ experience. The Colorado Avalanche is hosting a viewing party at Ball Arena on Monday for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which they were en route.

“I’m so happy that sport kind of takes over the whole waiting/tailgate thing to the finals and playoffs for the cities when the team goes out of town,” he said. “I’m so surprised it took so long, but in the last 5-10 years that watch party has been the right choice. This way you make sure that people continue to support the economy around sports and in your city and just come out and having a good time and keeping that vibe going. It’s a good thing.”

With the Avalanche leading 2-0 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 3, who does Thompson think will hoist the cup?

“The Avalanche, those guys are goalscorers and they just continued to show that,” he said. “And Tampa has to shut in and figure out how to get theirs up, but they’ll figure it out because they’ve been fighting all along to get to this point. Hopefully it goes super deep and is a nice dramatic ending. Leave it all lying on the ice.’

He hopes for an exciting end to an exciting Stanley Cup Play-offs.

“Unbelievable this year. There is so much skill and talent on display,” said Thompson. “I feel like there’s been at least a Game 6 in every round. The final is when all the talent and speed really shows, so you can see who’s really big, who’s really fast, who’s got skills. “