Chelios a Masterton finalist
NEW YORK (April 30, 2009) – Detroit’s Chris Chelios, Nashville’s Steve Sullivan and Florida’s Richard Zednik are the three finalists for the 2008-09 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” the National Hockey League announced today. A $2,500 grant from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
Each of the 30 local chapters of the PHWA submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday, June 18, during the 2009 NHL Awards that will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and on CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Chris Chelios, Detroit Red Wings
Chris Chelios’ dedication to the game has extended his career to a length attained by few in hockey history. His 1,644 games played are the most among active players and rank fourth in League history – he, Gordie Howe and Mark Messier are the only men to have played in 25 NHL seasons. At 47, he’s the oldest player in the NHL. And his experience and will to win have enabled him to remain a vital contributor even as his ice time has diminished on a star-studded Detroit team.
Steve Sullivan, Nashville Predators
Steve Sullivan's perseverance was measured in months, not weeks or days. He missed almost two full years – 687 days, to be precise – following a back injury suffered in February of 2007. Sullivan underwent two back surgeries in attempts to repair a fragmented disc and tried myriad different cures. But it wasn’t until he began an intensive workout regimen with strength and conditioning coach Dave Good that Sullivan finally began to heal. When Sullivan returned to the Nashville lineup on Jan. 10, he became just the third player since World War II (Mario Lemieux, Jim Peplinski) to play 150 games with a team, then miss at least 600 consecutive days before returning to the same team.
Richard Zednik, Florida Panthers
Just over a year ago, the carotid artery in his neck having been sliced by a teammate’s skate blade, Richard Zednik left pools of his blood on the ice as he skated to the bench in one of the most dramatic moments of the 2007-08 season. Zednik lost five pints of blood and required life-saving emergency surgery at a Buffalo hospital. Though the injury left a rose-colored scar that remains as a constant reminder of the episode, Zednik refused to allow his hockey career to be a casualty. He came back to play 70 games and score 17 goals this season for a young Panthers team that counted upon his experience.
The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey and who died January 15, 1968.