Every year each team in the NHl selects a nominee from its team as their representative for the Masterton Trophy. The nominees are selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and is awarded to a player who demonstrates, “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.” This year the nominee from the Kings is defenseman Willie Mitchell. From Rich Hammond:
“It’s an honor. I know what it’s probably for, is the long road to get back to doing what I do. Everyone knows that it was eight, nine months out of the game of hockey. It’s not an easy thing to do. When you’re going throughout, you wonder if you’re going to get a chance to do it again. I’m just fortunate. I’m thankful that I’m in the situation I’m in now, where I get to play the game I love to play. I have my health. That’s No. 1, and I just appreciate the game so much more after going through all that. You don’t appreciate those things until it’s taken away in a hurry. I’m happy to be back and happy to be contributing to our team. It’s an honor.”
The trophy was named after Bill Masterton who was killed as a result of an injury suffered during a game while suited up for the North Stars. It’s a nice trophy, and while Mitchell may not win (he’s only one of many nominees), it’s still a nice nod to a talented hockey player.