Dan Hamhuis is the Vancouver Canucks’ Bill Masterton Trophy nominee but, of course, he thanked his teammates first.
When the 2016 NHL trade deadline came and went for the Vancouver Canucks, fans were not happy. Dan Hamhuis is still here? Radim Vrbata is still here? Really, Jim Benning? Hamhuis’ nomination for the Bill Masterton Trophy shows just how important he is for this team.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. If there is one player who deserves it this year, it is Dan Hamhuis.
Hamhuis had his face shattered when he took a Dan Boyle slapshot straight to the face on December 9th, 2015. Even though a team of doctors didn’t touch most of the fractures because there were too many little pieces that had to put themselves back together with time, Hamhuis returned to game action on February 6th, with metal plates and screws holding his face together as well as possible.
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“It’s unlike any injury I’ve ever experienced,” Hamhuis told the media on Monday. “It goes beyond hockey and into life.”
There is no doubt that coming back from a frightening injury like that takes a whole lot of dedication and perseverance. However, Hamhuis wanted to thank his teammates rather than be proud of his personal accomplishments, claiming that getting him back on the ice was a team effort.
Asked about his future, the pending unrestricted free agent gave an answer you might not hear from many hockey players out there.
“I don’t think the whole picture is for me to be here to win Stanley Cups,” Hamhuis said. “I think that is something I care about very deeply, but there is so much more to this game. I think God put me here in a position like this to make a difference for other guys on the team, to help them out in any way in the community.
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“That is kind of the approach I take. My commitment level to hockey has probably never been higher, but priorities outside are always shifting and I am trying to make a difference.”
Many hockey players will agree that the large, shiny trophy called the Stanley Cup is what keeps them going. A 15-year NHL career can be good, but what makes it great is that little ring full of diamonds that has “Stanley Cup Champions” engraved.
Hamhuis is one of the few players who seem to disagree. He is a BC boy. Hamhuis was born in Smithers, BC, played junior hockey in Prince George, BC, and being drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2001, his career highlight was probably the signing of his first contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Dan Hamhuis likes to be close to home, he wants his family to stay together — at home, in Vancouver — and he will do anything it takes to stay with the Canucks. He puts his family, the team and the community first, and winning a Stanley Cup is irrelevant.
Other players might struggle coming back from injuries, but not Dan Hamhuis. As head coach Willie Desjardins pointed out, Hamhuis came back with a fractured face and led the team with some of the best hockey we have seen from him in a while.
Say what you will about Hamhuis, but he would deserve the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy more than anyone.
Good luck for the future, Dan. Hope to see you back in VanCity next season.