CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that Kris Russell has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Calgary Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA). The annual award goes to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
"Russell was acquired by the Flames shortly after going unclaimed through waivers in the summer of 2013, and has flourished in the Stampede City. A product of Caroline, Alta., he has responded with consecutive seasons setting a high for points, but that's only part of what the 27-year-old defenceman, and alternate captain, has provided.
Pound-for-pound – Russell is listed as being 5-10, 173 lb. – he may be one of the toughest defencemen you'll find in the NHL, and displays that attribute not only by his efforts in the corners and in front of the net battling opponents, but also blocking shots. The NHL leader in that category, he set a league record with 15 blocks during a win over the Boston Bruins in early March.
After the Flames lost captain Mark Giordano to a season-ending bicep injury, Russell's value showed even more, logging even more ice time than usual while elevating his game at both ends of the rink.” - Calgary Chapter of the PHWA
The trophy was first presented by the NHL Writers' Association in 1968 to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited, to a high degree, the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968 after an injury sustained during a hockey game. The winner is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season.
A grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner. Two Flames have won the trophy, Lanny McDonald in 1983 and Gary Roberts in 1996.