In international hockey, we often see reluctant acceptances of whatever token happens to go to the player adjudged to be the contest’s best.
Rarely do we see straight-up refusals.
But after host France needed 40-plus saves from Florian Hardy to upend Finland for the first time ever at the worlds, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was called up to accept a new Tissot to the chagrin of both himself and the fans in Paris’ AccorHotels Arena, the Philadelphia Flyers forward demanded that Hardy accept the recognition instead.
At first, Hardy resisted, but Bellemare managed to scold the netminder just enough to convince him to saunter to center ice and grab the watch.
Bellemare scored a goal and picked up an assist in the upset win, but the 32-year-old netminder was the story for France.
He made a collection of fantastic saves, with this on Oskar Osala being his finest:
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 7, 2017
Bellemare’s been lauded for his selflessness since, but explained that his gesture was really nothing out of the ordinary.
“Anybody would’ve done it that way,” he said, according to NHL.com. “There was no way I was going to take that prize. He deserved every bit of it and more.”
More IIHF coverage from Yahoo Sports: