Wild goalie Josh Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, is one of three finalists for the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The award goes to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. It is named for the former North Stars forward, who is the only player in league history to die as a result of injuries suffered on the ice.
The other finalists are Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh and Adam McQuaid of Boston.
Harding, 28, played in five regular season games and five playoff games for the Wild. He missed most of the season while battling issues related to medicating his illness.
Here is the NHL's release on the award:
NEW YORK (May 14, 2013) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh
Penguins, goaltender Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild and defenseman Adam
McQuaid of the Boston Bruins are the three finalists for the 2012-13 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, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
The local chapters of the PHWA submitted nominations for the
Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three
vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced
during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, with more detail on format to be
released at a later date.
Following are the finalists for the Masterton Trophy, in alphabetical
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby took to the ice in 2012-13 following two seasons in which he
had missed extended time due to concussion symptoms. His offseason training
and preparation paid off in a remarkable start to the season, as he
recorded points in nine of his first 11 games. He continued his torrid
scoring into March, helping the Penguins post 15 consecutive wins. Crosby
led the League in points by a double-digit margin on March 30, when he was
struck in the face with a puck. He underwent surgery that night for a
broken jaw and significant dental work was required in later days while he
worked toward a return to the Penguins lineup.
Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild
When faced with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an incurable
autoimmune disease, last fall, Harding made it clear that his career wasn’t
over. In his first start of the season, Harding made 24 saves to shut out
the Dallas Stars 1-0 on Jan. 20. On Feb. 12, after feeling ill from
medications treating the disease, he was placed on Injured Reserve and
missed 33 games as he continued treatment. However, the netminder continued
his fight with the disease and, after a two-game conditioning assignment
with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League, was activated from
Injured Reserve on April 22 and returned to the Wild lineup.
Adam McQuaid, Boston Bruins
McQuaid suffered a season-threatening injury in September when his
right arm grew increasingly swollen. He was diagnosed with a condition
known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that was causing dangerous blood clots to
form in his body. After undergoing two emergency surgeries to remove the
blood clots, the defenseman was deemed unfit to continue his normal
offseason workouts in order to give his body adequate time to heal.
McQuaid’s dedication to his rehabilitation efforts later in the fall
hastened his recovery and he skated alongside his teammates on opening
night of the 2012-13 season against the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
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 on January 15, 1968.