COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the club announced April 2. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
MacKenzie, 29, has tallied nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points with 17 penalty minutes and a +16 plus/minus rating in 59 games with the Blue Jackets this season. In his 10th professional season, he has set career highs for goals, assists, points, plus/minus and games played. His +16 plus/minus rating leads the club and would be the top mark in franchise history among forwards (+12, David Vyborny in 2002-03). In his first nine pro seasons, he never played more than 18 games in the NHL.
A native of Sudbury, Ontario, MacKenzie was Atlanta’s sixth pick, 128th overall, in the 1999 Entry Draft. He spent six seasons in the Thrashers organization before signing with the Blue Jackets prior to the 2007-08 campaign. He registered 147-185-332, 567 penalty minutes and was +40 in 550 career American Hockey League games from 2001-10 compared to 3-5-8, 30 penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in 64 NHL games during that span.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The trophy was first presented by the NHL writers in 1968 in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited the qualities for which the trophy embodies, and who died on Jan. 15, 1968. Last year’s winner was Washington’s Jose Theodore. Previous Blue Jackets nominees for the award include: Kevin Dineen (2000-01 and 2001-02, finalist both years), Luke Richardson (2002-03), Manny Malhotra (2003-04), Duvie Westcott (2005-06), Fredrik Norrena (2006-07), Pascal Leclaire (2007-08), Raffi Torres (2008-09) and Jared Boll (2009-10).
The Blue Jackets return to action Sunday when they host the St. Louis Blues. Game time from Nationwide Arena is 5 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 4:30 p.m. The game also will be broadcast live on the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Blue Jackets Radio Network – flagship station 97.1 The Fan – and online at BlueJackets.com.
Single-game tickets for Blue Jackets home games, starting at $22, are on sale at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, The FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Team Store at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, ticket outlets at the Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase tickets by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com. For information on season tickets, a variety of partial-season plans and group tickets, call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.