The Masterton Trophy is one that’s earned through persevering through hardship and setting an example for those on and off the ice. Making the specification between on and off the ice is needed this year since the 2011 Masterton Trophy winner didn’t play in a single game this season. Ian Laperriere missed the entire 2010-2011 season after dealing with the after effects of the concussion and eye injury he suffered in the playoffs last season when he took a puck in the eye as he blocked a shot.
The shot nearly cost Laperriere his sight in the eye and gave him a concussion thanks to the force of the shot. The blow convinced Laperriere that wearing a visor was the right move for his well being and perhaps against his own better judgment he returned later in the playoffs as the Flyers eventually lost to Chicago in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.
Laperriere beat out Anaheim goalie and former Flyers teammate Ray Emery as well as Calgary’s Daymond Langkow for the award. Emery returned to action this season after overcoming a degenerative hip condition which doctors used a radical surgery to help him overcome and return to the NHL. Langkow missed nearly the entire season before returning to play after suffering from a neck injury when he took a slap shot off the stick of then teammate Ian White last season. The fact that both of them came back to play after such horrible injuries is beyond inspiring.
That Laperriere took home the award this season is a bit of a surprise given that he didn’t play a game, but his insistence that he’s going to stay in hockey be it on the ice or off it helped win over voters. Laperriere stressed that dedication to the game after tonight’s ceremonies.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to leave, to tell you the truth. Maybe it will, I don’t know. Maybe when I’m 45 and can’t get out of bed, but I don’t know,” Laperriere said. “I’m born and raised in Montreal and hockey is my life. If I do come back it’s going to be great but if I don’t I’m still going to be involved in the game because that’s all I know, and that’s what I’m passionate about.”
“It’s one thing to be passionate about and it’s great if you can find that and I found something, 32 years of it and I won’t lose it that easy,” he concluded.
Some may argue about Laperriere winning the award, especially among other highly qualified finalists, but if nothing else his words proved exactly why he’s this year’s Masterton winner.