FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—March 23, 2007
RALEIGH, NC—The Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association today named Carolina Hurricanes winger Erik Cole as its nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Cole, 28, is in the midst of what will likely be his highest-scoring NHL season, already totaling a career-high 36 assists to go along with 26 goals (55 points) while playing in 63 of Carolina’s 74 games. The Oswego, NY, native posted career highs last season with 30 goals, 29 assists and 59 points in 60 games before a hit from behind on March 4 at Pittsburgh resulted in a compression fracture to a vertabra in his neck and cut his season short. Cole (6’2”, 205 lbs.) underwent extensive rehabilitation in the months following the hit and returned to the Hurricanes’ lineup in mid-June to compete in Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against Edmonton. After a scoring just one goal and earning four assists in Carolina’s first 11 games of 2006-07, Cole has scored 25 goals and earned 25 assists while playing in 52 of the Hurricanes’ 63 games since Oct. 28. Through games of March 22, Cole leads Carolina with 206 hits and ranks eighth among all NHL players in that category while averaging more than 18:00 of ice time per game.
The Hurricanes drafted Cole in the third round, 71st overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He turned professional after three seasons at Clarkson University and is now in his fifth season with the Hurricanes. In 337 NHL games, Cole has scored 104 goals and earned 119 assists while becoming an invaluable physical presence among Carolina’s forward corps.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded each season under the trusteeship of the PHWA to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The winner is selected from a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season and a $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the winner.
The NHL Writers’ Association presented the Masterton Trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, and who died Jan. 15, 1968.
The Carolina Hurricanes host the San Jose Sharks at the RBC Center tomorrow at 7 p.m. (FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). Individual-game tickets for all Hurricanes home games are available at the RBC Center box office, all TicketMaster locations, by calling 919-834-4000 or via www.CarolinaHurricanes.com. For information on Hurricanes ticket packages, please call 1-866-NHL-CANES or visit www.CarolinaHurricanes.com.