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Master Laperriere

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
The Bill Masterton Trophy
Dedication, Sportsmanship and Perseverance.


One man on the Philadelphia Flyers greatly excels in each of these categories, without even stepping on the ice for the 2010-11 season.

Ian Laperriere is the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association nominee for the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded each year to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“I got caught by surprise a little bit, and like you said, I didn’t play in one game, but it’s life. I know what it means,” said Ian Laperriere upon hearing the news. “It means that I tried to be a good human-being on and off the ice, and when you guys are voting for me, it’s telling me that I’m doing a pretty good job off the ice.”

Flyers’ beat writer Anthony SanFilippo of the Delaware County Daily Times is the chairman of the Philadelphia Chapter and happily delivered the news to Laperriere.

“[We, the chapter members] decided that although you haven’t actually been on the ice this season, you still embody the three characteristics that the league is looking for when determining a Masterton candidate,” said SanFilippo. “We felt, pretty unanimously, that you still maintain those characteristics off the ice in what you do and how you conduct yourself.”
   
Laperriere spent no time mincing words.

“Well, it’s been the hardest point of my career. I said that before and I still feel the same today.  To tell you the truth, everything happens for a reason and I am a big believer that for me to be a Flyer while it happened to me is kind of there is something behind it. They are taking care of me and I can’t imagine any other team, or maybe a couple teams, but not that many teams that would take care of their players like they are doing with me.” 

While maintaining his daily workout regiment and fight back from post-concussion syndrome diagnosed on Sept. 28, Laperriere has been keeping busy and serving the organization in several ways.

“They have been giving me all the tools to keep me busy and they know how much I love the game. I just can’t play right now and they just give me all the tools to stay in the game and stay close to the game,” said Laperriere.

“I get to help out with the junior leagues and American Hockey League and I try to see as much hockey as I can.  If down the road I get to coach those guys I could work with them in some kind of way. I do not know yet.”

One thing Laperriere does know without any doubt is that the game he has spent all of his life working and fighting in, will remain a part of his life.

“Hockey has been my life and is going to always be my first love.  I am going to try to do something in the game.  I do not know if it is going to be coaching, but it is going to be around the game for sure.  I have always been an approachable guy and it is one of my qualities.  I think that the younger guys appreciate that.” 

Laperriere, however, is wrong about only one thing. It’s not just the younger guys that appreciate that - it’s everybody.

If you don’t believe me, judge for yourself.

If you ever get the chance to meet, speak or even get to know Laperriere, within five minutes you will notice many things, many good things, many honest things and among them are dedication, sportsmanship and perseverance in not just hockey but in life.

It’s because of this that he not only deserves this nomination, it’s the reason he deserves to win.

* * *
A center for the Minnesota North Stars during the 1967-68 season, Bill Masterton remains the only NHL player to have died as a direct result of a play on the ice. A hit knocked Masterton off balance, while not wearing a helmet, his head struck the ice causing a brain hemorrhage.

All 30 NHL teams nominate a player on their team for consideration of the award.

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