The President’s Award is selected on an annual basis by the President of Hockey PEI and the award is given to an individual who, in the opinion of the selector, has made a remarkable contribution and has provided outstanding service to amateur hockey throughout PEI for many years.

Hockey PEI Staff | June 24th

 This year’s President’s Award is presented to 2011 Stanley Cup Champion and Cornwall, PEI native, Adam McQuaid, a tremendous role model for the PEI hockey community

It’s hard to find a more genuine person than Adam. He was a role model throughout his minor hockey days which continued right through to his pro career, becoming even more prominent when he reached the NHL level. He’s someone who continues to inspire our youth every day both on and off the ice and I am very proud to present him with this year’s Hockey PEI President’s Award.

– Mike Hammill, President, Hockey PEI

On January 16th, 2021, McQuaid officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League. McQuaid hasn’t played an NHL game since March 28, 2019, when he was with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He left the ice in pain with what later would be diagnosed as a herniated disc in his neck. It led to concussion symptoms and aches throughout his body, including nerve pain up and down his arm. His doctors told him, and he knew deep down it was time. Time for someone who sacrificed so much for the game to hang them up. 

The North River Minor Hockey product was known for his rugged style of play on the ice but displays one of the most genuine characters off the ice and in the community. During his 10 seasons playing in the NHL, McQuaid suited up for 512 total games, recording 16 goals, 57 assists, for a combined total of 73 points and finished with a plus-minus rating of +62. Not to mention, the accolade of hoisting a Stanley Cup. McQuaid was no stranger to the penalty box, spending 694 minutes of his career there, from battling for his team every second of his career. 

I am beyond fortunate to have been able to play as long as I did and to have the experiences that I did. I don’t look back on my situation and think, ‘Oh, things got cut short … or poor me,’ by any means.​​​​

– Adam McQuaid

One of the most heartwarming storylines to McQuaid’s career was the “Fist Bump kid”, Liam Fitzgerald. Liam was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born. He is a huge fan of ice hockey and a loyal follower of the Boston Bruins. Like McQuaid, Liam shares that uniquely lovable personality, despite any challenge that comes their way. At the tender age of three, Liam was diagnosed with Leukemia. After many battles, finally, when he was only 7 years old, Liam took his last dose of chemo. Suddenly, his life started revolving around hockey. Ice hockey was in Liam’s life and imagination, and for Halloween 2013, he wanted to live his imagination and dress up as a hockey player. And not just any player – he had someone special in mind. Liam is a huge Boston Bruins fan, and his favourite player at the time was PEI’s own Adam McQuaid. Liam had stolen McQuaid’s heart.

In November 2014, Liam was at a Bruins match, early enough to try and get a high five or a fist bump from the players at the tunnel. He kept blowing kisses when he saw himself on the Jumbotron. Liam, a regular at Bruins matches, was recognized by the director of PR, who helped him move to the bench for a better view. And, throughout the match, he sat, his fist out, and every player fist-bumping him. The Fist Bump Kid was thus born, and he became an instant celebrity, with special star quality. The Bruins felt the same love that McQuaid did. It warmed their hearts to see such an enthusiastic fan. Little Liam sowed them a pure and innocent kind of love, rising from his special little heart and McQuaid’s connection with Fitzpatrick lives on to this day. 

McQuaid’s name will be forever etched on the Stanley Cup, with the Boston Bruins in 2011, and that memory will be forever remembered by Prince Edward Islanders. In the summer of 2011, McQuaid brought home Lord Stanley to the Town of Cornwall and left a lasting mark of inspiration to all aspiring PEI minor hockey players. That inspiration carried on from 2011 to today, as he continues to encourage young hockey players to work hard and believe in themselves: 

It’s such a unique game in the sense that the things that you learn not only about the sport but also things you can carry into your life like working hard and being part of a team and respecting your coaches and being able to be there for your teammates.

– Adam McQuaid

In 2019, McQuaid quietly donated 25 new sets of hockey gear to Hockey PEI with the purpose of outfitting kids who wanted to come to try hockey and help lower the financial barriers. Kids from all over Prince Edward Island suited up with Adam’s new gear. This is no new gesture for McQuaid as he has previously made similar donations to North River Minor Hockey Association members in years prior. Furthermore, McQuaid continues to actively volunteer with Hockey Ministries International, specifically their PEI camp location in Cornwall annually. This camp is offered to kids aged 9 to 18 and is an amazing week for hockey players of any level. The program is designed to prepare hockey players for challenges, both on and off the ice. 

Adam has a special character that allows him to connect with almost anyone, he’s the gentle enforcer that any team wants to have. 

Every team that wins the Stanley Cup needs a player like him.

-Gerard Gallant, Head Coach, New York Rangers

 For those reasons above, and many others to note in relation to his exceptional contribution to the sport of hockey, Adam McQuaid is your 2021 Hockey PEI President’s Award recipient. 

Hockey PEI is the governing body for organized hockey in Prince Edward Island. Hockey PEI’s main purpose is to foster, promote, develop, supervise, regulate, and govern the sport of amateur hockey throughout Prince Edward Island. For more on Hockey PEI and its programs visit www.hockeypei.com or follow through social media on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, or LinkedIn.

Media Contact | Tanner Doiron, Manager, Hockey Operations & Communications, tanner@hockeypei.com, 902-368-4334