Sens netminder Andrew Hammond was named one of the finalists for the 2015 Bill Masterton Memorial Award given to the National Hockey League player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey".
"It's an incredible honour to be selected as a finalist." said Hammond. "It's great that my story has reached so many people, my hope is that my story will reach another young athlete that has thought about giving up. I appreciate all of the Ottawa writers that nominated me, as well as the writers that selected me to be a finalist."
Hammond was originally nominated by the Ottawa Chapter of the PHWA as the Ottawa Senators candidate for the award back on April 1st. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen and PHWA had this to say...
In February and March, Andrew Hammond went from being a little known minor league goaltender into the best story in the National Hockey League, leading the Ottawa Senators back into the playoff race by going 14-1-1 in his first 16 NHL starts.
Hammond’s story is all about dedication and perseverance.
Almost 10 years ago, Hammond’s hockey career appeared over before it started.
At 18, Hammond had quit hockey after being cut from his junior A team in B.C. After attending college for three weeks, he received a call from a former Tier II junior coach. He opted to take a step back to continue to pursue his hockey dreams, re-discovering his love for hockey.
From there, he won a pair of Canadian national junior A titles, receiving a scholarship to Bowling Green University.
Success was limited. Hammond lost his first 14 collegiate games and didn’t experience a winning season in four years of college, but played well enough to earn a professional contract from the Senators.
Despite a slow start to the 2014-15 season with the Senators’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton, Hammond stayed committed to his dream of playing in the NHL.
When it arrived, he didn’t look back, failing to allow more than two goals in his first 12 NHL starts, tying Frank Brimsek’s 76-year-old record.
Hammond is the third Senators to be nominated for a piece of league hardware and will join Mark Stone (Calder) and Erik Karlsson (Norris) for the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 24.