Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan has been named the 2019-20 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner.
The award is presented annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." The award was presented by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) to honor the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited those qualities. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968, as a result of an on-ice injury.
Ryan, 33, left the Senators to enter the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program on Nov. 20, 2019. He returned to practice with the team in early February and pledged to share his story publicly in an effort to help and inspire others facing similar challenges. In his first home game after returning to the lineup Ryan tallied a hat trick, was named the game's First Star and received multiple standing ovations in a 5-2 win over Vancouver on Feb. 27. "Because I've been open and candid about that, I think people have looked at me and said, 'There's a very relatable person,'" Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. "Through my family stuff and now with alcohol issues, I've never hid from it and I've always said, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to have to do it in the public eye and I'm going to have to be candid with it."
Ryan is the second Senator to win the award after Craig Anderson in 2016-17.
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 Masterton Trophy winner.
Other finalists for this year's honor were Stephen Johns of the Dallas Stars and Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers.
For more on the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, including a list of past winners, click here.