Goaltender Josh Harding becomes Wild's first Masterton trophy winner
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Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding was named the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial trophy winner on Friday.
The Masterton trophy, named after former North Star Bill Masterton, is given annually to the player that best personifies "perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
Despite being diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis, Harding fought through the effects of the disease and extended lapses in playing time to serve as the Wild's primary backup goalie.
"I'm very fortunate to have the support of so many great people who have helped me through the ups and downs of multiple sclerosis, starting with my friends, family and doctors," Harding said in a statement. "I thank my teammates and the entire Wild organization for believing in me and for their ongoing support. I also want to thank those across the NHL, NHLPA and the MS community who reached out with their encouragement during a challenging year. I'm incredibly grateful for this honor."
Harding started all five games of the Wild's brief playoff stint against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Harding, who won the award over Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid, became the Wild's first player to earn the Masterton trophy, as well as the first player in team history to receive an end-of-season award by vote.
Past Wild nominees for the Masterton award include Wes Walz, Marion Gaborik and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.