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Born August 16, 1938(1938-08-16),
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Died January 15, 1968 (aged 29),
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Height
Weight
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Pro clubs Minnesota North Stars
Ntl. team  United States
Playing career 1967 – 1968

William J. "Bat" Masterton (August 13, 1938 – January 15, 1968) was a Canadian-born centre in the National Hockey League (NHL). Masterton died from an injury he suffered during a game. Masterton is the only player in NHL history to be killed as a direct result of an on-ice incident during a game.

Contents

Early life and career

Masterton first began playing hockey in Canada's far flung junior hockey program and his first team was the St. Boniface Canadiens in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1956-57.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Masterton was signed by the Montreal Canadiens soon after he came out of the University of Denver in 1961, where he was an All-American. He bounced around the minor leagues before retiring in 1963 in order to work for the Honeywell Corporation in Minneapolis and played as an amateur for the United States National team (Masterton became an American citizen in 1967). The North Stars picked him up before their inaugural season in 1967. He scored the first goal in North Stars history on October 11, 1967.[1]

Death

On January 13, 1968, four minutes into a game against the Oakland Seals at the Met Center, Masterton was carrying the puck into the Seals' zone. Shortly after completing a pass to teammate Wayne Connelly, he was checked by Oakland's Larry Cahan and Ron Harris and fell backwards onto the ice head-first. The force of the back of his head hitting the ice caused blood to gush from his mouth and nose. Before Masterton lost consciousness, a teammate who rushed to his aid heard him murmur, "Never again. Never again."[2]

Masterton sustained a massive brain hemorrhage that damaged the pons. The injury was so severe that doctors were unable to perform surgery, and Masterton died two days later.[3]

His death would result in more intense lobbying for hockey players to wear helmets, which were uncommon in North American professional hockey at that time. Helmets were mandated beginning 1979 for players entering the NHL in that season onward.

Masterton's #19 jersey has never been worn again by any player on the North Stars/Stars franchise, and it was officially retired in 1987, six years before the North Stars left Minnesota.[4]

The Bill Masterton Trophy is named in his honor. The trophy is awarded for dedication, sportsmanship, and perseverance.[5][6]

Bill Masterton attended Miles MacDonell Collegiate in Winnipeg, where he was the male athlete of the year at the school in 1955. In 1968, his family created a scholarship in his honour for MacDonell students.

Awards & Achievements

  • Turnbull Cup MJHL Championship (1956)
  • NCAA National Championships (1958, 1960, & 1961)
  • WCHA First All-Star Team (1960 & 1961)
  • NCAA West First All-American Team (1960 & 1961)
  • NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (1961)
  • NCAA Championship Tournament MVP (1961)
  • “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame

See also

References

External links

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