All 31 teams announced their nominations for the Bill Masterson Trophy for the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The Edmonton Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Adam Larsson who continued to play this season in the wake of his father’s tragic passing.
The Masterton trophy is named after Bill Masterton, who is the only player in NHL history to pass away due to an injury suffered during a game. In Masterton, a forward with the Minnesota North Stars, collided with two California Golden Seals defenders and fell backwards on to the ice. He smashed his head on the ice without wearing a helmet and passed away 30 hours later due to brain damage.
Generally the Masterton Trophy is given to a player who returns from an injury or illness. For example, Mario Lemieux, Jason Blake, Phil Kessel, and Saku Koivu have been given the award after beating cancer and Bryan Berard won after suffering an injury that rendered him blind in one eye. In a similar vein to Larsson, last year’s winner Craig Anderson led the Ottawa Senators to the Eastern Conference Final while his wife battled cancer.
Given what Larsson has gone through this season, I can’t think of a better choice for the nomination.