“The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”
Today, all around the NHL, hockey people have gotten into a tizzy over the fact that Ryan O’Reilly, forward for the Buffalo Sabres, was nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy. Above this paragraph is the exact criteria that is supposed to meet all nominees of this award. So it is more than puzzling that O’Reilly was nominated for the award considering he is in heaps of legal trouble for allegedly driving his car drunkenly into a Tim Hortons.
The award has been awarded to players who have gone through trials and tribulations ranging from blindness in one eye to overcoming cancer. The award, regardless of what the criteria states, is normally given to a player that has overcome the most off of the ice. So when the Buffalo chapter nominated Ryan O’Reilly, what exactly are they saying he overcame? What type of perseverance has he shown to the writers?
Plainly, dealing with these charges should exclude him from any nomination. Even though he may be the “de facto captain” of the team, what exactly has he done other than go slightly above what normal hockey players do? This nomination takes away from what other players have done and has become a distraction to an award that is supposed to remind us of the human side of hockey players. Allegedly endangering the lives of others due to their own poor decisions is something that should be worn as a scarlet letter. If anything, O’Reilly is another example of an athlete who lives outside of the law. In no other profession can someone come out the other side of such an accusation and come out unscathed, even if that person shows up and works very, very hard. A perk of being a professional athlete.
The nomination implies that we as readers and onlookers of the NHL are incapable of critical thinking. That we should just accept that what a player does off the ice and it should not impact our feelings of players on it. I may not reside in Buffalo but the idiocy of this decision can be felt many states over. Give fans something to actually root for.