Arizona Coyotes forward Michael Grabner has been put forward as the team’s nominee for this year’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Players are selected by members of the PHWA and Grabner is the most logical choice from the Coyotes’ roster.
In a season where the Coyotes have struggled through a string of long and disappointing injuries, Grabner’s was arguably the most severe.
Receiving a high stick to the eye in early December, there were legitimate concerns for the veteran forward’s long-term vision, with Grabner missing a significant portion of the season while waiting to see if his eyesight returned to normality.
At 31 years old, it was a surprise to see Grabner return to the ice as swiftly as he did – with the Austrian continue to persevere through such a difficult period in his life to be an integral part of his team’s push towards the playoffs.
If the Arizona Coyotes make the playoffs this season, they will be the biggest and most impressive story from the 2018/19 season.
To put Grabner’s injury into perspective, a semi-professional player in the United Kingdom recently suffered a similar situation.
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Ross Bowers, a 33-year-old veteran of the British game, recently suffered a high stick to his eye and now requires a number of surgeries to restore potentially 20% eyesight of one of his eyes – with a fundraising campaign launched to help him get through a period of his life that will see him unable to live as he usually would, missing an extended period of work and see his playing career ended in an instant.
Had Grabner suffered a similar result as Bowers, his career would also be over and life-long issues with eyesight would persist and require numerous surgeries to give him any real hope of living an ordinary life once again.
Seeing Grabner narrowly escape such a fate and manage to return to the ice with the Arizona Coyotes still so close to making the playoffs is truly worthy of a nomination for the Masterton.
The award is given to the player deemed to have exemplified the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Are you pleased to see Grabner given the nomination? Is there anyone else on the roster that deserved some consideration? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!