What is the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy?

Photo: NHL

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League (NHL) to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. The award is named in honor of Bill Masterton, who was a forward for the Minnesota North Stars and tragically died after suffering a head injury during a game in 1968.

Masterton’s death was a turning point in NHL history, as it brought attention to the need for better player safety and equipment. The league established the Masterton Trophy the following season to recognize players who demonstrated the qualities that Masterton embodied throughout his career.

The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) and is typically presented at the NHL Awards ceremony at the end of the regular season. The winner is selected based on a combination of on-ice performance, personal dedication to the game, and commitment to their community.

Players who win the Masterton Trophy often have inspiring stories of overcoming adversity, whether it be injury, illness, personal loss, or other challenges. In some cases, the award is given to a player who has made a remarkable comeback after a career-threatening injury or illness. In other cases, it recognizes a player who has made significant contributions to their team and community despite facing personal obstacles.

Some of the most notable winners of the Masterton Trophy include Mario Lemieux, who won the award in 1993 after returning to the NHL following a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Dominic Moore, who won the award in 2014 after taking a year off from hockey to care for his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer and passed away later that year.

In addition to recognizing individual players, the Masterton Trophy also serves as a reminder of the importance of sportsmanship and perseverance in hockey and in life. The award is a testament to the resilience and determination of the human spirit, and it continues to inspire fans and players alike to strive for greatness both on and off the ice.

In conclusion, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is a prestigious award that recognizes the dedication and perseverance of NHL players who embody the spirit of the game. The award serves as a tribute to the legacy of Bill Masterton and a reminder of the importance of sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication in hockey and in life.

  • 1968 – Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1969 – Pit Martin, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1970 – Bobby Baun, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1971 – Jean Ratelle, New York Rangers
  • 1972 – Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1973 – Lowell MacDonald, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1974 – Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1975 – Don Luce, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1976 – Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers
  • 1977 – Ed Westfall, New York Islanders
  • 1978 – Butch Goring, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1979 – Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1980 – Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames
  • 1981 – Brad Park, Boston Bruins
  • 1982 – Glenn Resch, Colorado Rockies
  • 1983 – Lorne Stamler, Minnesota North Stars
  • 1984 – Barry Beck, New York Rangers
  • 1985 – Anders Hedberg, New York Rangers
  • 1986 – Charlie Simmer, Boston Bruins
  • 1987 – Doug Jarvis, Hartford Whalers
  • 1988 – Bob Bourne, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1989 – Tim Kerr, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1990 – Gord Kluzak, Boston Bruins
  • 1991 – Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1992 – Mark Fitzpatrick, New York Islanders
  • 1993 – Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1994 – Cam Neely, Boston Bruins
  • 1995 – Pat LaFontaine, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1996 – Gary Roberts, Calgary Flames
  • 1997 – Tony Granato, San Jose Sharks
  • 1998 – Jamie McLennan, St. Louis Blues
  • 1999 – John Cullen, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2000 – Ken Daneyko, New Jersey Devils
  • 2001 – Saku Koivu, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2002 – Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2003 – Steve Sullivan, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2004 – Bryan Berard, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2005 – No award due to NHL lockout
  • 2006 – Teemu Selanne, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
  • 2007 – Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins
  • 2008 – Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 2009 – Steve Montador, Boston Bruins
  • 2010 – Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals
  • 2011 – Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 2012 – Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2013 – Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild
  • 2014 – Dominic Moore, New York Rangers
  • 2015 – Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
  • 2016 – Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers
  • 2017 – Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
  • 2018 – Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils
  • 2019 – Robin Lehner, New York Islanders
  • 2020 – Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
  • 2021 – Oskar Lindblom, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 2022 – Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

It’s worth noting that the selection process for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy was different in its early years, with the winner being chosen by a committee rather than the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Connor Green

Managing Editor | Inside the Rink

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