Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan has been selected as a finalist for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The 33 year-old forward joins Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom, who spent the year battling Ewing’s sarcoma, and Dallas Stars defenceman Stephen Johns, who came back from post-concussive syndrome, as the final three in the award’s voting. The Masterton trophy is awarded every year, to the player who best displays “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”.
Ryan took a leave of absence from the Senators in November of 2019, to enter the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Upon his return in February, he revealed that he had sought treatment for alcohol abuse.
His return to home ice, on February 27th, was a game that will go down in the annals of Ottawa Senators history. Ryan powered the Sens to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks with a hat trick that was met by a thunderous ovation, and chants of “Bobby”, that left the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native visibly emotional.
Upon being nominated for the award in June, Ryan told the Ottawa Citizen:
I think when you look at players and athletes, people have a perception that they are making a million bucks and living the good life, and getting to play hockey and flying around, but I don’t think people get a chance to relate to some of the things that go on underneath. Because I’ve been open and candid about that, I think people look at me and say, ’there is a very relatable person.’ Through my familiar (past) and then the alcohol issues, things like that, I’ve never hid from it.
He tallied five goals and three assists in 24 games throughout the 2019-2020 campaign
The forward is the first Ottawa Senator to be nominated for the Masterton Trophy since Craig Anderson won it in 2017, after returning to the lineup following his wife Nicholle’s cancer diagnosis, and leading the Sens to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
As of yet, the NHL has not announced a date upon which the league’s awards winners will be announced.