Tuesday, July 11, 2017

{allcanada} Mark Giordano of Flames wins Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award


Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames was named the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award on Tuesday.

The award recognizes an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a positive impact on their community through sports. Giordano, the Flames captain, was presented the award at the third annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards presented by ESPN in Los Angeles.

The award allows Giordano to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to his Team Giordano program, which has impacted the lives of 1,900 high-needs students in Calgary.

"I am so incredibly honored to receive this award," Giordano said. "To be mentioned in the same sentence as Muhammad Ali is something I could never imagine. Mr. Ali was more than just an athlete, he was a global icon that led numerous humanitarian efforts to better the lives of thousands around the world.

Giordano will be recognized Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ABC) at The ESPYS, which celebrate excellence in individual and team sports.

"I would like to thank the Ali family and ESPN along with congratulating all nominees for their community efforts," said Giordano, who won the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2016. "I share this award with the Calgary Flames organization, the Flames ownership group and all Calgarians as I am fortunate to live in a first-class city that on a daily basis strives to make our community better. Most importantly, I would like to thank my wife Lauren, whose tireless efforts have helped make what our Team Giordano program is today."

Giordano's "5 for 5" initiative provided funding to build five homes with Habitat for Humanity in Ethiopia, India, Kenya, the Philippines and the Calgary area. In collaboration with the Calgary Board of Education, Mark and Lauren created Team Giordano in 2014. Funded by the Giordanos, the Calgary Italian Open and the Flames Foundation, and in partnership with Pizza 73, ATB Financial and Cardel Homes, the program has donated $300,000 to four high-needs Calgary schools. The program not only provides resources, including computers, supplies and their own "Gio Journals" to track students' progress, but promotes physical fitness, academics, and the positive behaviors that lead to success in life.

"On behalf of the Calgary Flames ownership group and the entire organization, I would like to congratulate Mark and Lauren on receiving this incredible distinction," Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation president Ken King said. "The time and energy they have invested to create positive change within the Calgary community is remarkable, and I am extremely pleased to see their names alongside one of the most influential sports figures of our generation. They are creating an extraordinary legacy for their family, the Flames organization, and our entire community."

PGA Tour golfer Ernie Els, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson were the other finalists for the award.

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