While it’s not an award that stands out as glitzy or glamorous like the Hart Trophy or the Norris Trophy, the Masterton Trophy is one that exemplifies best what it means to be a professional hockey player. The trophy goes to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
This year, Washington Capitals goalie Jose Theodore was awarded the Masterton Trophy after what could only be described as a personally tragic year.
Theodore had to deal with some adversity on the ice at the end of last season, but that was forgotten when his infant son Chace passed away last summer from complications stemming from his premature birth. Theodore not only regained the starting job, he had his best season since winning the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002, capped by a 20-0-3 run over the final three months. Of far greater importance was the way he handled himself in the dressing room, with fans and the media, and with his new charity “Saves for Kids” which benefits the NICU unit of the hospital Chace spent his entire brief life in.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through anything like that in my personal life and be able to forge ahead and continue to play the sport I love at a professional and elite level. What many winners of the Masterton Trophy deal with and persevere through all that is truly remarkable and it’s incredible to see Theodore turn such a tragic loss into something big for the community through charity work.