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The NHL on Monday revealed its finalists for the 2023 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, an annual distinction for individuals who have positively impacted their community, culture or society through the sport of hockey.

This season’s six candidates include three from the United States and three from Canada: Jason McCrimmon (Detroit), Karen Ota-O’Brien (Coconut Creek, Florida) and Marty Richardson (Littleton, Colorado) represent the U.S. finalists, and Derek Klein (Shellbrook, Saskatchewan), Dean Smith (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and Saroya Tinker (Toronto) were chosen from Canada.

One winner from each country will be determined with weighted votes from Willie O’Ree, the NHL and — on the Canadian side — representatives from Hyundai Canada. A public fan vote also begins Monday on NHL.com. That runs through April 16 at 1 p.m. ET.

Each winner will receive $25,000 — and every finalist gets $5,000 — to put toward a charity of their respective choice.

McCrimmon is the president and founder of Detroit Ice Dreams Youth Hockey Association. It’s a nonprofit youth hockey organization aiming to break down barriers preventing underrepresented communities from participating in hockey. McCrimmon supports that initiative through on-ice programming, community giveaways and filling backpacks for children in need of proper supplies. He’s also the associate head coach, GM and owner of the USPHL’s Motor City Gamblers Jr., a team that boasts several players who have moved on to a collegiate level, where they continue pursuing a life — and career — in sport.

Ota-O’Brien is founder of several hockey projects, including the South Florida Women’s Hockey Program and the Lucky Pucks Hockey Club. She’s also co-founder and president of the Florida Women’s Hockey League, made up of women’s hockey organizations from across the state. Ota-O’Brien has spent almost three decades advocating for the women’s game to be more inclusive and welcoming with new and increasingly creative endeavors such as the Girls Night Out League, where women of all ages and skill levels can participate.

Richardson founded the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation as a nonprofit that gives back to North American families affected by hardships. Through hockey tournaments (including the annual Dawg Bowl), golf games and crowdsourcing organized by Dawg Nation, Richardson has provided funding to help cancer patients, amputees, burn victims and other community members in need. In 2002, the program donated $900,000 to hockey families going through difficult times, and since 2011 it has allocated more than $4 million in aid.

Klein is the CEO of Big River First Nation. For more than 25 years, Klein has worked to promote and grow the game of hockey through the Cree Nation reservation by increasing funding and support for all Big River Youth. Klein played a key role in the creation of Jim Neilson Sports Complex, a $42 million project featuring an ice arena and outdoor practice fields — among other outlets — to serve Big River First Nation and other surrounding First Nation communities. Because of Klein, more than 800 youths have allies and access to sport.

Smith is a lawyer determined to create safe and welcoming spaces in hockey. He has taken on roles as chair of Hockey Nova Scotia’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and is on the board of directors as their chair of diversity and inclusion. Smith also serves as secretary to the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame Society, a nonprofit that celebrates Black achievement in sport. Smith is a driving force behind increasing diversity and opportunity for Black Nova Scotians to be involved with hockey and has seen graduates from his youth programs go on to play at elite levels in the province.

Tinker is the executive director of Black Girl Hockey Club Canada and a defenseman for the 2023 Isobel Cup-winning Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey League. Through her initiatives — including the Saroya Strong mentorship program — Tinker mentors and advocates for Black women in hockey and to make the game more inclusive for their friends, family and allies.

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NHL names six Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award finalists