The Calgary Flames Hockey Club is proud to announce that Mikael Backlund and Jason Barriere are this year’s recipients of the J.R. McCaig Award. Mikael and Jason were presented their awards earlier today at the Sportsnet Brightest Star Luncheon by the co-owner of the Calgary Flames and J.R.’s son Jeffrey McCaig.

The Flames lost owner J.R. “Bud” McCaig 13 years ago following a lengthy battle with cancer. Mr. McCaig was a long-time member of the Flames ownership group and a great contributor to the Calgary community. The J.R. McCaig Award honours two Calgary Flames personnel, a player and a staff member, who best exemplify Mr. McCaig’s enduring virtues of respect, courtesy and compassion for all individuals he encountered both in his professional and everyday life.

Since 2003, Jason Barriere has worked in Building Operations for Calgary Sports and Entertainment. In April of 2013, he took on a full-time role as Assistant Maintenance Manager and does an exceptional job alongside the Building Operations team. While maintaining his day-to-day schedule, Jason assumed additional responsibilities that included working on a number of the renovation projects and managing the snow removal activity. Always willing to pitch in and help wherever needed, Jason is very respected by his colleagues. The native of Sudbury, Ontario always leads by example, through displaying a great attitude, a keen eye for efficiencies, while being customer driven and humble. The respect and admiration Jason has for all individuals he encounters speaks directly to the virtues that Mr. McCaig set forth in his leadership with the Calgary Flames. Jason has three children, daughter Alaynah, and two sons, Connor and Kaden.

Backlund, a first-round pick of the Flames in 2007, is highly respected among his teammates and is the definition of friendly and courteous to everyone he encounters. A past recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian award, Mikael’s commitment to the community is irrefutable and attends every event with unparalleled eagerness and enthusiasm.

While an avid supporter and proud ambassador to both the Kid’s Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and Special Olympics Calgary, Mikael and his fiancé Frida’s immense passion for finding a cure for ALS is what truly stands out.

For the past 4 seasons, the couple has hosted families personally affected by the devastating disease at a Flames home game each month. Since 2015, more than 40 families have had the pleasure of attending a game that includes a post-game visit with Mikael. This past November, Mikael and Frida elevated their commitment to the charity by chairing “Uncorked for ALS”, an event in support of the ALS Society of Alberta that raised over $80,000 in hopes of finding a cure. For their efforts, they were presented with the inaugural “Making Possibilities” Award, an ALS provincial award given to those making a difference in the lives affected by the illness. In addition, in partnership with KPMG, Backlund donates $200 for every point he records to ALS research. While his contributions off the ice are significant, Backlund continues to make an impact on it through his strong two-way play and ranks top 5 on the club in numerous offensive categories.

The recipients of the J.R. McCaig Award receive a limited-edition bronze sculpture entitled RESPECT that depicts a cowboy showing his appreciation and respect to his horse by loosening the cinch, removing the bridle and allowing the horse to drink from his hat. The pieces were sculpted by Cremona, AB artist Diane Anderson.