RALEIGH, NC—The North Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association today named Carolina Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour its nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Similarly, the Hurricanes’ players yesterday voted alternate captain Eric Staal the team’s nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Brind’Amour, 38, suffered a season-ending knee injury in February 2008, and a second injury to the same knee in September 2008, before the opening of training camp.
Despite the injuries, subsequent surgeries and difficult rehabilitations, Brind’Amour played in Carolina’s final preseason game just 20 days after the second procedure, and was in the lineup for the Hurricanes’ season opener on Oct. 10. To date, he has played in 75 of the team’s 77 games this season, leads all NHL skaters with a 60.6 faceoff-win percentage and ranks second among Carolina skaters in average ice time at 18:56 per game. In the Hurricanes’ last 12 games, Brind’Amour has scored six goals, earned 10 assists (16 points) and registered a plus-9 plus/minus rating, helping the team to a 9-1-2 record in that span and to move it into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. For the season, he ranks tied for second on the team with 33 assists and tied for fourth with 47 points.
Brind’Amour is in his 20th NHL season, and will play his 1,400th NHL regular-season game with his next game played. Earlier this season, he became just the fourth NHL player to play in 600 games with two different clubs and he is one of just six active NHL players with 400-or-more goals and 700-or-more assists.
The King Clancy Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice, and has made a noteworthy contribution in his community. This season, Staal began “Eric’s Entourage,” in which he purchases a luxury suite – fully equipped with food, snacks and drinks – for each Hurricanes home game, and donates it to local children’s charities. The children attending the games become members of “Eric’s Entourage,” and receive a goody bag that includes an “Eric’s Entourage” t-shirt signed by Staal. Throughout the season, several of the groups using the suite visit Eric after games for a meet-and-greet.
Along with the “Eric’s Entourage” program, Staal is an integral part of the Kids N’ Community Foundation’s fundraising events. He is one of the team’s most-requested players at the Foundation’s golf tournament, and fans gather around him in droves at annual Foundation events like Casino Night and Wine Tasting, and the popular Skate with the Canes event. Eric also participates in team hospital visits, this year visiting UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC.