Colin McDonald has been nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Islanders’ chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
The award goes to the player who “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication” to the sport.
McDonald, 29, didn’t become a regular NHLer until joining the Islanders for training camp last season after 405 AHL games. He was the Oilers’ 2003 second-round pick, spent four years at Providence College and then five seasons in the farm systems of the Oilers and Penguins before signing a two-way deal with the Isles prior to the 2012-13 season.
He served as the Sound Tigers’ captain during the 2012 lockout, then made the Islanders out of camp. McDonald earned his first one-way contract last season.
Two Islanders have previously won the award, which was first given in 1968, the same year that North Stars forward Bill Masterton died as a result of injuries sustained during a game.
Ed Westfall won the Masterton in 1977, and Mark Fitzpatrick won it in 1992. Several one-time Isles also won it: Butch Goring with the Kings in 1978, Chico Resch with the Rockies in 1982, Bob Bourne with the Kings in 1988, Pat LaFontaine with the Sabres in 1995, Bryan Berard with the Hawks in 2004 and Jason Blake with the Leafs in 2008.
Most often the past two decades, the Masterton has gone to a player who has overcome a career- or life-threatening illness or injury, as was the case with Fitzpatrick (Eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome), Berard (losing sight in one eye due to an errant stick) and Blake (leukemia).
All 30 nominees are voted upon by the full PHWA membership to determine the winner.