San Jose, California -
The San Jose chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced today that San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels
has been selected as its 2012 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.
Wingels has helped promote and support the You Can Play Project, a project that is the legacy of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke’s late son Brendan. Brendan’s commitment to create an environment where all athletes are accepted regardless of sexual orientation is the driving force behind the You Can Play. Wingels is one of two NHL players who have provided financial support to get the project under way and sit on its advisory board. More than three dozen other players have signed up to give their support since its launch.
Wingels, 23, was the team captain at Miami University when Burke, a student manager for the hockey team, told players and coaches he was gay in April 2009. Ten months later, Brendan Burke tragically died in an auto accident.
“I think this project is on the NHL is ready for,” said Wingels. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere that’s free for everyone. If you can play this game, you can play – it doesn’t matter your sexual orientation.”
This season, Wingels has split his time between Worcester and San Jose, posting 21 points (13 goals, 8 assists) in 29 games with Worcester and seven points (three goals, four assists) in 24 games with San Jose.
The six-foot, 190-pound native of Evanston, IL was selected in the 6th round (177th overall) by San Jose in the 2008 NHL Entry 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.