Carey Price named year’s top Canadian athlete

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price says he hasn’t built a trophy room in his house yet, even if the awards are starting to pile up. Price became the first hockey goaltender to win the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete on Tuesday.

TORONTO — Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price says he hasn’t built a trophy room in his house yet, even if the awards are starting to pile up.

Price became the first hockey goaltender to win the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete on Tuesday.

“I was actually surprised at that because this country’s had so many outstanding goaltenders, which speaks volumes of our athletic system in general,” he said.

“We have so many great athletes, year after year, putting up such great performances.

“To be able to top some of those is truly honouring.”

Price hit career highs with 44 wins, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage for Montreal in the 2014-15 season.

He also won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender, the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association and earned the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL MVP as judged by his fellow players. He also shared the William M. Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I’m going to be trying to put together a man cave this summer in Kelowna, so maybe it will go there,” said Price, who joined some the greatest names in Canadian sport history to win the award. “Obviously it’s truly an honour to be a part of those names.

“It’s definitely special to me. I’m going to be proud of that for the rest of my life.”

Price’s 44 wins set a record for most in a season by a Canadiens goaltender and was tied for fifth for most in a season.

The 28-year-old from Anahim Lake, B.C., is only the second player in the storied history of the Canadiens franchise to win four NHL awards in one season.

He is the third Lou Marsh winner from the Canadiens after Guy Lafleur and Maurice (Rocket) Richard.

Asked which names he was proudest to join as winners of the award, he said Olympic 100-metres gold medallist Donovan Bailey. And hockey great Wayne Gretzky of course.

“Basically all the hockey players,” he added.

“Every young kid looks up to hockey athletes, but we’ve had so many great performances in the Olympics over the years.

“I think everyone looks forward to watching those and watching our athletes compete. Not only just compete, but compete for medals. It’s an honour to be compared with athletes in other sports, that’s what makes this unique.”

Price, who has been out of action since late November with a lower body injury, said his rehab is going well. He was to miss at least six weeks, which would put his return in early January, and won’t need surgery.

“I’m feeling well — just to get rid of the elephant in the room,” he said with a laugh. “The progress is exactly as it should be going.

“The time line hasn’t changed.”

The Lou Marsh award is selected annually by a panel of sports journalists from across Canada and is named after the former Toronto Star sports editor.

It’s been awarded every year since 1936 — save for a stretch from 1942-44 — with a hockey player winning 13 times.

Bobsledder Kaillie Humphries won the award in 2014.

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