For the tenacity he showed on his unconventional road to the NHL, Rich Peverley is the Dallas Stars nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Masterton is awarded annually by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. It is named after Bill Masterton, a former Minnesota North Stars player who died in 1968 after sustaining a head injury during a game. Nominees are picked by the local chapters of the PHWA.
As Mike Heika wrote in this article about the nomination, Peverley is not being nominated for anything having to do with his scary collapse on the Dallas bench on March 10. Rather, he was the pick because of his long and winding road to the NHL, which started with four full years at St. Lawrence University, then moved to a little more than a year in the ECHL with South Carolina, then Reading.
After that, Peverley spent about two and a half seasons in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals before finally cracking the NHL, getting a shot with the Nashville Predators and eventually winning a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
It's a path that is familiar to many on the Stars - Ryan Garbutt and Jordie Benn being CHL-starting examples - and certainly worthy of highlighting from a perseverance perspective. But it's almost impossible to untie any attention Peverley receives now from his cardiac incident, and he is well aware of that fact.
"In terms of being nominated. I don’t want to have attention for something that happened that isn’t good," he said. "I think there are so many people who have gone through extremely hard situations and come back, and those are the people who should get the attention. If I come back, maybe I’ll deserve it, but I don’t want to have all of this attention because something bad happened to me."
Only one player in Stars franchise history - Al MacAdam with the 1979-80 Minnesota North Stars - has ever received the award.
Other nominees this year include Dominic Moore of the New York Rangers and Manny Malhotra of the Carolina Hurricanes, both of whom have incredible stories. Moore returned to hockey this year after taking last year off to grieve the death of his wife from liver cancer, and Malhotra is back in the NHL after an eye injury many - including his former teams - thought would spell the end of his career.
Since Peverley was the inspiration for our fundraising drive, I thought this would be a good place to give an update about 10 days into our campaign.
As of 11:30 a.m. today, we have officially reached our initial goal of $2,000 raised for Living for Zachary, a Plano-based charity that supports awareness, prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest in young people. That money is enough to purchase one AED to be donated to a facility in the Dallas area that serves youth.
The $2,000 raised does not include the approximately $275-$300 that has been pledged based on things that happen in the April 9 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's all so amazing that I can hardly stand it.
But the fact that we've raised $2,000 (or really $2,300) does not mean the drive is over. Any money we raise from this point forward will go toward the purchase of another AED for donation to a facility. If we raise another $2,000, for a total of $4,000, we will be able to fully fund the purchase of a second AED. If not, the money will go into the pot earmarked for AED donations and cover a portion of the cost for that next device. All our donations will be earmarked for this specific cause at Living for Zachary.
If you have not yet donated or even heard of our campaign, you can check out all the information in this post, which describes everything in detail.
If you have already donated, thank you so very, very much. We will be able to make a real impact in our community because of your generosity. Thank you for helping us make sure other such stories have equally happy endings.