April 6, 2006

Award honors perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey

RALEIGH , NC - The Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association on Wednesday announced Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican as its nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Hedican, 35, is enjoying one of the best seasons of his 14-year NHL career, posting 24 points (5g, 19a), 52 penalty minutes and a team second-best plus-12 plus/minus rating while playing in 69 of Carolina's 75 games through April 5. Immediately following the 2003-04 season that saw him play in 81 of Carolina 's 82 games, Hedican underwent surgery on both knees. Despite the successful knee surgeries, the St. Paul, MN native still suffered severe back pain and contemplated retirement. But, in April 2005, Hedican made the potentially career-ending decision to undergo back surgery, not knowing whether or not he would be ready for training camp in September. Since game one of the 2005-06 regular season, he has been a fixture on the Hurricanes' blue line and, in early February was added to Team USA's roster for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. The 2006 Winter Olympics marked the second time Hedican had represented the United States as an Olympian.

Hedican is currently in his fourth season with the Hurricanes after being acquired in a trade with Florida in January 2002. He was a key member of the Hurricanes squad that made a 23-game run to the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals, and has posted 17 goals, 54 assists (71 points) and 201 penalty minutes in 248 regular-season games with Carolina . The St. Louis Blues selected Hedican in the ninth round, 198 th overall, in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, and he has recorded 52 goals, 206 assists and 745 penalty minutes in 867 NHL games with St. Louis , Vancouver , Florida and Carolina .

The Masterton Trophy is awarded each season under the trusteeship of the PHWA to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The winner is selected from a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season and a $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington , Minn. , in the name of the winner.

The NHL Writers' Association presented the Masterton Trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, and who died Jan. 15, 1968 .

The Carolina Hurricanes face the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, on Friday (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network) before traveling to Atlanta for a Saturday evening meeting with the Thrashers (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). The Hurricanes return to the RBC Center on Tuesday to face the New Jersey Devils, and will play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, April 14. Tickets for all Hurricanes games at the RBC Center can be purchased at the RBC Center box office, all Ticket Master outlets, by calling 919-834-4000 or via www.CarolinaHurricanes.com. Tickets to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will go on sale to the general public on April 8 at 10 a.m.   For information on Hurricanes season-ticket packages and mini-season ticket plans, please call 1-866-NHL-CANES.



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