The phrase “consummate team player” is an often over-used piece of sports-writing jargon, but every now and then you see the meaning behind the words.
Case in point: Philadelphia Flyers left wing Pierre Edouard Bellemare. A native of France, Bellemare is basking in Paris co-hosting the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship with Cologne, Germany.
Bellemare is a fourth-line player in the National Hockey League but he a top line forward for France.
After France upset Finland 5-1 in Paris Sunday, officials decided to name Bellemare the best player of the game for the French team.
Bellemare, who had a goal in the game, disagreed.
He passed on the honor and persuaded officials to give it French goaltender Florian Hardy, to the delight of the 11,433 spectators inside Paris’ AccorHotels Arena. Hardy had 42 saves in the game.
France, ranked 14th in the world, had previously lost eight straight to the 3rd-ranked Finns, dating back to 1993.
The Flyers failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the team rewarded the 32-year-old Bellemare for his play during the National Hockey League season by re-signing him to a two-year deal at $1.45 million per year.
The team also made him an assistant captain, an honor he shares with high-scoring right wing Wayne Simmonds.
And Sunday’s gesture in Paris shows why.