Coming off a bounce back season with the New York Islanders, Robin Lehner was nominated for 2 awards at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
Lehner’s career-best season marked a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Islanders, where they upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in round 1 before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in round 2.
The 2 awards Lehner was nominated for included the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top goaltender, and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to a player who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. After being closely beaten by Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky for the Vezina, Lehner won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The 2018-19 season was a remarkable turnaround for Lehner after opening up earlier this year about his mental health struggles that have included everything from bipolar and ADHD with PTSD and trauma, as well as having manic phases. Lehner also had previously been in rehab where he was treated for addictions to drugs and alcohol.
During his acceptance speech, Lehner thanked the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program as being critical to his recovery, saying “I’m here because of you guys.”
Lehner also spoke about his mental illness and of taking the first step to get help, which saved his life, and the importance of ending stigma.
“…it’s something that we gotta keep pushing for, we gotta end the stigma.
You know, I’m not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean mentally weak.”
You can check out the full speech from Lehner below: