NEW YORK (April 26, 2010) -- Kurtis Foster of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jed Ortmeyer of the San Jose Sharks and Jose Theodore of the Washington Capitals are the three finalists for the 2009-10 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” the National Hockey League announced today.
A $2,500 grant from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
Each of the 30 local chapters of the PHWA submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 23, during the 2010 NHL Awards that will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and on CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Kurtis Foster, Tampa Bay Lightning
Foster's NHL career was nearly shattered as he fell into the end boards in a game between his Minnesota Wild and San Jose on March 19, 2008. The next day Foster underwent surgery in which a rod was inserted into his left femur to help stabilize a badly broken bone. Following a year of extensive rehabilitation, Foster was back in the game, appearing in 10 late-season games with the Wild. Signed by Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, Foster posted career-best totals in games (71), assists (34) and points (42) in 2009-10, topping Lightning defensemen in scoring.
Jed Ortmeyer, San Jose Sharks
Ortmeyer not only has to work hard each shift to ensure he has a place in the NHL, but he also battles a challenging health condition that requires daily attention. At some point each day, Ortmeyer must use a needle to inject a blood thinner directly into his stomach to combat a hereditary blood-clotting disorder that has threatened not only his hockey career but also his life. Ortmeyer first experienced clotting problems in 2001 following knee surgery and has nearly walked away from the game twice, most recently in 2008 when he played for the Nashville Predators.
Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals
Theodore had to deal with some adversity on the ice at the end of last season, but that was forgotten when his infant son Chace passed away this summer from complications stemming from his premature birth. Theodore not only regained the starting job, he had his best season since winning the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002, capped by a 20-0-3 run over the final three months. What's of greater importance is the way he has handled himself in the dressing room, with fans and the media, and with his new charity "Saves for Kids" which benefits the NICU unit of the hospital Chace spent his entire brief life in.
The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association 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 January 15, 1968.
The NHL will announce the three finalists for each of its awards daily. The remaining announcement schedule:
Tuesday, April 27 NHL Foundation Player Award (contributions to charitable causes)
Wednesday, April 28 Jack Adams Award (top head coach)
Thursday, April 29 Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)