Craig Anderson has been named the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, an award given to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”. The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA).
Although it will be Craig’s name engraved on the trophy, the award will have been won because of the perseverance of the Andersons: Craig and his wife Nicholle. Nicholle was diagnosed with a rare form of throat cancer in October, which prompted Craig to take a hiatus from hockey in order to stay with his spouse in a time of fear and uncertainty.
After backup goalie Andrew Hammond was injured and the Sens were in need of a goalie, Nicholle encouraged Craig to return for a game in Edmonton, where he earned a 37 save shutout in what was an emotional game for the entire team. The Senators days later acquired Mike Condon to fill the gap so Andy could return with Nicholle.
The story didn’t end there, though, as in early February, Nicholle was released from the hospital, and Craig returned to the Senators’ lineup. He didn’t play anything short of incredible either, putting up a .929 save percentage from then to the end of the season, while also playing at an elite level in the playoffs. The ultimate news didn’t come until May 27th, when Nicholle revealed that she is now cancer free!
Together, they showed incredible perseverance, which is ultimately why they are being given the award.