Alex Trebek brought the audience to their feet — and Jon Hamm almost to tears — when he took to the stage at the 2019 NHL Awards on Wednesday night.
The annual event honoring the league’s best regular-season performances was one of the “Jeopardy!” host and longtime hockey fan’s few public appearances since announcing his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
“Thank you Jon, thank you Las Vegas, and thanks to the hockey world for all your support. Growing up in Canada, you realize very early on that hockey is in your DNA,” the Ontario native said, as he recalled how his favorite player of all time, Gordie Howe, had once won the Hart Memorial Trophy.
Trebek, 78, went on to present this year’s trophy for the league MVP to Tampa Bay Lightening right winger Nikita Kucherov.
Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which has a 9% survival rate, back in March. However, he told People last month that, despite the odds, he’s been responding well to chemotherapy treatment and is in “near remission.”
“The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50%,” Trebek said.
Emmy Award-winning actor and “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson hosted this year’s NHL Awards for the first time. Meanwhile, former host and “Good Omens” star Hamm — who was still celebrating his St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup last week — got to introduce members of his hometown team to the stage, including Ryan O’Reilly who won the Selke Trophy for Best Defensive Forward.
Other Hollywood stars on hand to present awards included: Taylor Kinney (“Chicago Fire”), Jay Baruchel (“How to Train A Dragon: The Hidden World”), Jay Harrington (“S.W.A.T.”), Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Kel Mitchell (“All That”) and Nico Tortorella (“Younger”), “Jeopardy!” champion James Holzhauer, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, model Camille Kostek, Miss Universe Catriona Gray and race car drivers Kurt Busch and Simon Pagenaud.
The 2019 NHL Awards aired live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on NBCSN and Sportsnet in the U.S. and Canada.
Watch the video above. Click here for the full list of winners.