Pittsburgh winger Pascal Dupuis had his career cut short by blood clots, but the impact the veteran had on his teammates during his playing days is awfully apparent after a moving tribute video the Penguins put together for their longtime teammate.
Dupuis, 36, was presented the inaugural Dapper Dan Courage Award Wednesday evening at an event in Pittsburgh and was joined at the event by his wife Carole-Lyne, son Kody and daugters Maeva, Zoe and Lola. Also there with Dupuis was Penguins teammate Kris Letang.
According to the Penguins, the award is given to a “Pittsburgh-area athlete who best exemplifies the meaning of perseverance by overcoming adversity while serving as an inspiration to their teammates or organization.” Dupuis fits the bill perfectly, and several former teammates thanked Dupuis in an emotional tribute video about his time as a Penguin:
This video just ran at Dapper Dan where Dupuis is winning an award for his courage. Duper, you are the best.https://t.co/qQjojwhcb4
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 18, 2016
Following the video, Dupuis delivered a heartfelt speech about his time in Pittsburgh, the difficulties in his career and stepping away from the game, which he called far tougher than dealing with the roadblocks that were put in the way of him having a successful career.
“It’s really ironic, looking back, that making the decision (to retire) was going to be the toughest moment for me as a hockey player in my hockey career,” Dupuis said, via PittsburghPenguins.com. “Walking away, choosing to put hockey aside, was far scarier than playing with my condition on the ice.”
Dupuis said that while the award he was given was for courage, he didn’t consider himself to be courageous, but rather blessed. Blessed to be given the opportunity to play hockey professionally, to play for the Penguins and to share the ice and friendships with his teammates. Dupuis added that his career was “far more storied than I could ever imagine,” and that he spent his career taking pride in attempting to prove critics wrong.
“I was never drafted,” Dupuis said. “I didn’t stand on a stage holding a jersey. I was somewhere, somewhere working hard to get there a different way. I loved the underdog title, so when I got traded to Pittsburgh, I decided to focus on one thing: to make sure the ‘other guy’ in the (Marian) Hossa trade had a name for himself, had a name in Pittsburgh. I’d like to think that now, it’s probably known as the Dupuis and Hossa trade, or the Dupuis trade, if you guys want.”