Every year, the NHL, under the trusteeship of the NHWPA, awards the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy “to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” It’s one of the award nominee lists that I look forward to seeing every year, because it gives fans an opportunity to see the personal stories of players. Oftentimes, the teams nominate players who often aren’t in the spotlight. These aren’t necessarily the superstars.
Today the NHWPA released every team’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy:
The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association proudly announces chapters’ nominees for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: pic.twitter.com/EpBQDoMhe5— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 9, 2020
That’s a list of some of hockey’s hardest workers. Former Blue Robby Fabbri is the Red Wings’ nominee for going from healthy scratch to a key member of the Wings. Oskar Lindblom is nominated by the Flyers in recognition of his fight against Ewing’s sarcoma. The Senators nominated Bobby Ryan to recognize his comeback from addiction.
And, of course, the Blues nominated Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester’s cardiac event February 11th during a game between the Blues and Anaheim Ducks necessitated a ICD being implanted in his chest to regulate his heartbeat. His future in hockey is uncertain, as having an ICD and playing contact sports is very strongly discouraged - contact can displace the ICD, causing the potential for a cardiac arrest.
Regardless of if Bouwmeester returns to the ice next season or not, the loss of such a respected voice on the team, and how present he has been with his teammates since, is a testament to Bouwmeester’s character, love of the Blues, and love of the game. The Blues couldn’t’ve selected a better nominee.