In a time when the Dallas Stars’ lineup is comprised of so much youth, it is good to have a veteran like Vernon Fiddler. The Stars acknowledged just how valuable Fiddler is by nominating him for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
On a team led by young stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin with support from a youth movement including 12 players this season that are 25 or younger, veteran leadership is critical for the Stars. Whether it is to provide stability and consistency on the ice, an example of preparation and professionalism or sage advice on the bench or in the locker room, players like Fiddler fill a key role in helping the young Stars develop.
Fiddler Deserving of Nomination
The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” And Fiddler has plenty of evidence about why he deserves the nomination.
The 34-year-old seems to always be one of the Stars spotted out in the community at children’s hospital visits, charity tournaments and games, and fan interaction events. On March 15, he was the head coach in the second annual Community Chest Charity Alumni Game. He is great when it comes to meeting with fans after practices for autographs, pictures and a quick conversation. His contributions don’t end there.
He is involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He donates four tickets at every home game to LLS and then meets with the guests outside the locker room after the games. He took part in a foster care facility party, Children’s Medical Center visit, a Links for Leukemia Golf Tournament and an LLS Light the Night Walk. The video below will tug at your heart-strings a little and perfectly shows just a glimpse into why Fiddler deserves the nomination.
What Fiddler Brings on the Ice
With everything he does off the ice, it is good to see him receive some rewards on it. In his fourth season with the Stars, Fiddler posted a career high of 13 goals this season. He added 16 assists for 29 points, his highest total since 2009-2010, and the third-most in his 12-year career.
He played a critical role as Dallas’ go-to penalty killer and one of their most reliable faceoff takers. Though he plays in the bottom six, he has shown glimpses of skill, especially in a few recent shootout and penalty shot situations. His overall play consisting of determination, grit, efficiency on the forecheck and responsible defense is a tremendous asset to the Stars.
It wasn’t that long ago that Fiddler’s place on the team was in question. A diminishing role and lower ice time led Fiddler to request a trade in November of 2013. Fortunately, the two sides were able to work things out, and Fiddler signed a two-year deal to stay in Dallas last July.
It isn’t easy to find a player with the class, experience, personality and dedication on and off the ice that Fiddler possesses, especially from a player who can contribute in a big way on the ice by doing all the little things right.
His contributions on and off the ice are well-appreciated by the fans, team and community. Here’s to hoping Fiddler’s heart, work and passion carry over to not just his teammates, but people of all walks of life. The world would be a better place for it.