There was tough competition for the Mark Messier National Hockey League Leadership award this year. Shea Weber was announced the winner at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on 22 June2016. The three nominated finalists back in May, included Shea, of Nashville’s Predators, Washington Capital'sAlex Ovechkin and John Tavares from the New York Highlanders.

Tennessean tweeted their pride.

The Tennessean Twitter account was first up to announce their pride in the winner. The Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award is highly prized and the awards namesake, Mark Messier set the standard when he captained two separate franchises to the Stanley Cup.

He first leadthe Oilers in 1990 and followed this up in 1994 when he captained the Rangers.

Weber joins the likes of Sidney Crosby.

The Award started out as a monthly leadership incentive back in 2006/7. Shea joins the likes of Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in receiving the award. Crosby first received the monthly award in January 2007 and made it again in the Annual Awards in the 2009-10 ceremony. The Award must hold special significance for Weber as back in May, CBS Sports reported that Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks was possibly the worst “game of his NHL career.” Further speculation by the NHL Bleacher Report in March suggested that the Predators performance with or without Weber was much the same.

Speculation about his game.

Speculation about Weber’s ability as an elite defenseman did not stop him from gaining the Messier Leadership Award, which is granted to an individual who leads by "positive example" through on-ice performance, team motivation and a "dedication to community activities and charitable causes.” He has been with the predators since his rookie days and has played with the team in the NHL since January 2006.

Weber’s career.

Apart from the Predators, he plays for the Canadian National Ice Hockey Team which took two Olympic Gold medals, at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The thirty-year old was born in British Columbia and by the age of six, he was already playing organized ice hockey. In 2004 he signed his first Predators contract at entry level and in his debut game in January 2006 against Detroit Redwings he played three shots on goal in just over 11 minutes of game time.

As if the Detroit Redwings were a talisman for Weber, in the 2015-16 season he grabbed his first hat-trick against the team and this made him the first Predators defenseman to achieve this.

Weber was first appointed Captain of Nashville Predators back in July 2010 when he replaced Josh Arnott. He was the 5th Captain appointed in the history of the team.

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