On Monday, each team’s Bill Masterton Trophy nominee was announced with the LA Kings selecting defenseman Matt Roy as their choice.
Already coming into his own as a solid defenseman, the 2020-21 season saw Matt Roy be rewarded with a three-year contract extension by the LA Kings. On Monday, the news got better for the blueliner as his team chose him as their representative for this year’s Bill Masterton Trophy.
Awarded to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey,” the Bill Masterton Trophy has a long history of recognizing some of the league’s more unsung talent, who have set examples of determination and inspiration not only to hockey fans but to those in any walk of life. Matt Roy, as voted by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, has fit this bill this season.
Following team practice on Monday, Roy spoke with the media about his nomination.
“It’s an honor to be selected for the team,” he said. “It’s not every day you nominated for an award like that, so it’s pretty cool. There’s been a lot of hard work with not just myself, but the team and the staff helped me get back in playing this year. So, thankful for everyone that’s helped me and I’m happy to be back.”
While he’s been successful on the ice, Roy’s season has gone through some hardships. First, he was sidelined with a concussion after taking a dangerous head-first hit into the boards courtesy of Matt Fiala, and second, landing on the COVID-19 protocol list. Frustration would naturally set in for anyone in either of these situations, much less both, but Roy nonetheless found a way to persevere.
Overcoming these obstacles has certainly played a major factor in his nomination but the Kings defenseman was quick to give collective credit to his team.
“I guess it’s nice to have a little recognition,” Roy added. “But I think it’s been a hard year for everyone honestly. There’s been a lot of sacrifices with all the protocols and COVID, so I think the players, coaches, and staff here, I think everyone has done a good job of working through some hardships this year.”
Also following practice on Monday, Todd McLellan shared his thoughts on Roy’s Masterton selection.
“I think he’s a great selection,” beamed the Kings head coach. “You guys with the media made a good choice. He’s a quality individual. He cares deeply about his team and the community and he’s fought hard this year to overcome a few things health-wise, and been a big part of our team, so a good choice.”
On Monday night, the Kings will be playing their final home game of what has been an unusual season, to say the least. It will also be Fan Appreciation Night at STAPLES Center on Monday, which made Roy all the more exciting for next season and the possibility of having more fans at games.
“The fans mean everything to us,” Roy emphasized. “I mean, you definitely notice when they’re not there. So we’re definitely looking forward to next year. Hopefully, we’ll be back to fans in the building like normal and they’re just– they bring energy and they create an atmosphere that makes it really fun playing in. So, we definitely appreciate it.”
To prove how valuable Matt Roy’s presence to the lineup has been this season, the Kings are 3-9-0 this season without him.
In 41 games this season, the Detroit native has two goals and eight assists with three of those helpers coming against the Kings’ Monday-night opponent, the St. Louis Blues.
The 31 selections for this year’s Bill Masterton Trophy will be narrowed down to three at a later date this summer. Regardless of whether or not he becomes a finalist, though, Matt Roy has received a great honor — and a deserving one, at that.
It may not measure the offensive capabilities that the Hart and Art Ross Trophies do but the Bill Masterton Trophy is nonetheless an award that recognizes the character of an NHLer as a human being above anything else. So, to all 31 nominees — which includes former Kings Jack Campbell and Milan Lucic — huge congratulations are in order. For Matt Roy, specifically, though, here’s to you and how proud the LA Kings are to have you as such an outstanding representative.