Teams have begun to announce their nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy which is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association. The NHL says players are considered for their “perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
The Washington Capitals have nominated their 24 year old winger Brett Connolly. Connolly came to the Caps from the Boston Bruins. He spent a good bit of his time at the start of the season watching the game from the press box; however, in 59 games he recorded 15 goals and six assists—certainly his best season since moving up to the NHL. He last scored the goal only against Nashville on March 16 and continues to demonstrate sportsmanship and a dedication to the game of hockey.
Brett jumped right in and became an active member of the Caps family as he participated in fundraisers and fan activities since arriving in September 2016. He’s a quiet sort but we have seen a friendly generous side of him from his participation in the Caps Canine Calendar, Hockey Fights Cancer, and the Better Halves Gift Basket Auction (it went for $1,100). And he was a willing partaker in the Scarlet Caps Hockey ‘n Heels night, shooting the puck with the ladies.
Other nominees as of this writing include:
- Dan Girardi with the NY Rangers
- Ryan Reaves of St. Louis Blues
- Paul Byron with Canadiens
- Patrick Maroon of Edmonton Oilers
- Brian Gionta of the Buffalo Sabres
- Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames
- Jarome Iginla from the LA Kings for his perseverance and team dedication to the Colorado Avalanche
- Henrik Zetterberg with the Detroit Red Wings
- Marian Hoosa for Chicago Blackhawks
Craig Anderson, the Ottawa Senators goalie, is very likely to receive the award . This has been a rough year for Anderson whose wife Nicholle is fighting throat cancer through extreme chemotherapy treatments. To his credit, Anderson has attempted to play as many games as possible, demonstrating courage and perseverance in his professional and private life. The Senators and teams throughout the league have supported Craig and Nicholle during this time. Anderson is on the cusp of playing his 500th career game
In 2010 Capitals goalie Jose Theodore received the Masterton after overcoming the death of his son. According to Hockey News, “Theodore’s infant son Chace died last summer due to complications stemming from his premature birth. He went on to have his best year since 2002, helping the Capitals finish with the league’s best record and putting together a 20-0-3 run over the final three months.”Jose went on to set up a charity in memory of his son. The Caps announced they were not resigning him the day of the award.
Win or lose, there are many strong men in this league that battle through adversity on and off the ice. When we feel underappreciated or overwhelmed, they help to inspire us to take one more step forward.