Flyers' Laperriere a Masterton trophy finalist


Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Posted: 12:00 p.m.
By Tim
LAS VEGAS -- Ian Laperriere can hardly contain his excitement.

Three times during his 16-year NHL career, the Flyers forward has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Wednesday night at the Palms, the NHL Awards will be presented. Laperierre is among the three finalists for this recognition.

Ive never been a finalist until now, said the 37 year old. Its very flattering, trust me. You always want to play the right way and be the right kind of person on and off the ice.

The Masterton trophy is given by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Laperriere was nominated by the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA.

His competition happens to be made up of ex-FlyersAnaheim goalie Ray Emery and Calgary centerman Daymond Langkow.

I wasnt shocked to be nominated, but to be a finalist, that was a surprise, Laperriere said.

He was previously nominated in Los Angeles and later, in Colorado.

When I was first nominated, I went and looked up Bill Masterton, so I know the history, Laperriere said.

Masterton, a member of the Minnesota North Stars, died on Jan. 15, 1968, when he collapsed onto the ice after a routine check, striking the back of his head. Players didnt wear helmets in that era. The official cause of death was cerebral contusion.

An investigation this past May by The Toronto Star showed Masterton had been complaining of severe migraine headaches a week prior to his death after suffering a suspected concussion during a game.

The night before Masterton died, he attended a party in Minnesota and complained to teammates that he didnt feel right. The innocuous check against the Oakland Seals that felled him only escalated the brain trauma he had been experiencing for days.

We now know, in retrospect, Masterton was suffering from post-concussion syndrome when he died. Back then, very little was known about concussion effects and the term post-concussion syndrome wasnt even part of the medical communitys jargon.

Laperrieres immediate family and his mother will attend the award ceremonies.

Im excited for my kids, Laperriere said. Its always nice to be recognized. My boys are big hockey fans and for them to see this up close and personal its going to be a big experience for them. It will be good memories for them.

Previous Flyer recipients of the Masterton were Bobby Clarke in 1971-72 and Tim Kerr in 1988-89.

The last Flyer to win one of the major individual NHL Awards (Hart, Calder, Selke,Vezina, etc.) was Eric Lindros, who won the Hart Trophy in 1994-95 as league MVP.

Lindros also won the Lester B. Pearson award that year, voted by the players themselves, as the leagues best player. That award has since been renamed the, Ted Lindsay Award.

The last Flyers to be recognized at the league level in a lesser award capacity were Roman Cechmanek and Robert Esche, who combined to win the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2002-03 for fewest goals against (166).

E-mail Tim Panaccio at Follow him on Twitter at @TPanochCSN.

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