Alex Trebek is getting some love from the hockey community!
The 78-year-old Jeopardy! host served as a presenter at Wednesday night’s NHL Awards, where he received a warm welcome from the crowd. Jon Hamm, whose St. Louis Blues walked away with the Stanley Cup this year, introduced Trebek to the crowd, referencing the beloved host’s recent battle with pancreatic cancer.
“I would like to introduce you all tonight to one of the biggest hockey fans in the world and he happens to be going through one of the biggest fights there is,” Hamm said of Trebek. “We are so happy to have him here with us tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Alex Trebek.”
As soon as Trebek walked onto the stage to present the Hart Memorial Trophy, the league’s MVP award, the crowd rose to their feet and remained that way throughout his time onstage. Fan favorite hockey stars Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators were among the famous faces standing for Trebek, as he announced Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning as this year’s winner.
“Thank you, Las Vegas and thanks to the hockey world for all of your support as well. As you all know, growing up in Canada you realize very early on that hockey is in your DNA. And my favorite player of all time, my hockey hero, Gordie Howe, won the Hart trophy six times and my favorite team, the Montreal Canadiens, has had 17 winners,” Trebek said. “So it’s a great thrill for me to be here tonight to hand this trophy to the best-of-the-best of this new generation.”
Trebek spoke with the NHL at the event, offering fans an update on his health, after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer back in March.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Trebek said, just weeks after he told People that some of his tumors have shrunk by more than 50 percent. “I have good days and a few days after chemo that kind of lay me low for a little bit. But overall I’m improving. My numbers are improving. And I’ve very positive about the outcome.”
The Jeopardy! host also spoke about the show’s recent big winner, James Holzhauer, who had a 32-game winning streak, and promising fans that he’ll likely be back to compete.
“We are most likely to get together again for a special tournament of champions because James is a champion. He will be invited back to compete,” Trebek said. “And who knows? We may have Brad [Rutter] and Ken Jennings in that tournament as well. You never know. But our ratings were great when James was doing well, so it’s very likely that you’ll see him again, folks.”
Trebek’s comments came nearly two weeks after Holzhauer honored the game show host by donating $1,1019.14 to the Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk campaign page of Ann Zediker. According to multiple outlets, the donation, the amount of which was a reference to Holzhauer’s daughter’s birthday, came after Zediker saw him on Jeopardy! and invited him to the walk in Naperville, Illinois, where he used to live.
Though he was unable to attend the walk, he did make the donation “for Alex Trebek and all the other survivors.”
Watch the video below for more on Trebek.