The Phoenix chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association has nominated Coyotes center Jeff Halpern for this season's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
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The annual award recognizes the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Halpern did not have an NHL contract when training camp began last September so he headed to Europe looking for work and played eight games in the Finnish League. Needing depth at center, the Coyotes signed Halpern and he's chipped in nicely as a faceoff specialist, penalty killer and an occasional goal scorer.
"My head and the goal for this year was somehow to put myself in a position to play in the NHL," Halpern told azcentral.com. "Things didn't work out this summer probably the way I would have liked things to go or an easier route, but I knew going into this year I was prepared to play different places or go wherever in order to try to get back in to the NHL. I've kind of really been appreciative of getting a chance to play."
Head Coach Dave Tippett said Halpern is an excellent choice for a Masterton nominee.
"He's been a good player for us," Tippett said. "He has that attitude of 'I'm never going to quit,' and he sacrifices for the game. Basically he's prolonged his career because he's a great person, a great teammate and he works his butt off everyday. And he'll do whatever it takes to help his team win."