San Jose, California - The San Jose chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced today that San Jose Sharks forward James Sheppard has been selected as its 2013 nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. 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.
Sheppard, 24, missed two full NHL seasons from 2010-12 after suffering a career-threatening leg injury as a result of an ATV-accident during a guided tour during a summer hockey camp.
After missing all of the 2010-11 season due to the injury, the Sharks acquired him from Minnesota in a trade on Aug. 7, 2011. He spent the 2011-12 season rehabbing his leg and played in four games in Worcester (AHL) on a rehab assignment from Feb. 28 - March 6. At the conclusion of that stint, Sheppard's season was again shut down due to problems with the leg.
A summer of rehabilitation and treatment allowed Sheppard to begin the season in Worcester during the NHL work stoppage. In 34 games, he posted 23 points (8-15=23) which was second-best on the team.
On Jan. 22, Sheppard made his NHL return at Edmonton. It marked his first game since suiting up for the Minnesota Wild on April 8, 2010. His game-winning goal on March 25 at Anaheim was his first as a Shark and first since scoring on Dec. 11, 2009 at Calgary with Minnesota.
In 30 games this season, Sheppard has posted four points (1-3=4) for San Jose and his 58 hits are fifth on the team. He has appeared in 254 career regular season games posting 53 points (12-41=53) over four active seasons.
The six-foot-1, 205-pound native of Halifax, Nova Scotia was selected in the 1st round (9th overall) by Minnesota in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by San Jose from Minnesota on Aug. 7, 2011 in exchange for a third round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft.
The Masterton Trophy 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 PHWA first 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. Masterton died Jan. 15, 1968 following an injury suffered in a game.
Former Shark Tony Granato received the award in 1997. This year's winner will be named on June 20th at the NHL's annual awards presentation in Las Vegas.