In 2009, Rick Nash was awarded the NHL Foundation award which is given to the player “who applies the core values of (ice) hockey—commitment, perseverance and teamwork—to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
In the NHL writeup for why Nash was nominated for the award in 2009, it details the work he did in the Columbus community.
Nash established the #61 Club to encourage students to make healthy choices and rewards those who do with tickets to Blue Jackets games. He donated $100,000 to The Ohio State University Athletics Department to endow a scholarship for a student-athlete and contributed $25,000 as a founding donor to the John H. McConnell Scholarship Fund, in memory of the team’s founder and majority owner.
He has contributed $15,000 annually for the past four years to Santa’s Silent Helpers, which helps families with children, single mothers and the elderly in Central Ohio who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Nash developed “Rick Bands,” which come in red for dedication, blue for believe and silver for character, and donates proceeds from their sale to the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation to fight pediatric cancer, and to support education and children’s healthy and safety.
When the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets competed in the 2009 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, Nash contributed $5,000 to help with family travel expenses.
Nash is the spokesman for several Blue Jackets’ charitable initiatives, including the Columbus Dispatch Newspapers in Education program; the Jackets for Jackets program that collected 1,200 winter coats, and the Time Warner Cable Adult Literacy Campaign.
The Dispatch added “He made regular visits to sick children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. These were just the high-profile activities. Many of his good works were done quietly and without cameras present.”
Nash told the paper that his work in the community came after he had a talk with his dad around the time he was starting his rookie season “When things calmed down, my dad had a talk with me. He wanted me to understand that when you are given something, it’s important to give back. It’s a responsibility.”
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Nash told the Dispatch “I want to be remembered as a good, honest player, someone who’s helped change people’s lives in the community and brought excitement to people’s lives.”
Adam Graves won the NHL Foundation award in 1999-2000.