Harding Wins Masterton Trophy Amid MS Battle
Josh Harding was named the 2013 winner of the National Hockey League’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey on Friday night.
All are qualities the likeable Minnesota Wild goaltender has shown off in spades throughout a seven-year career filled with more devastating injuries than most endure in their lifetime, but never before did Harding need as much perseverance as this year.
Diagnosed in the fall with multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory disease that attacks the central nervous system, the 28-year-old not only managed to resume his career, including a triumphant 1-0 shutout win in his return, but after a mid-season absence as he adjusted to side effects from new medication, Harding had a strong showing in the first round of the playoffs after No.1 Niklas Backstrom was hurt in warm ups for Game 1. And now, he has started Harding’s Hope, a charity to raise awareness and funds for families coping with MS.
“I wish more people knew what MS was when I was diagnosed,” Harding told the NHL Players’ Association website. “After living with the disease I realized that I’m in a place to give back. I’d be crazy not to. This is so near and dear to my heart and I take great pride in it.”
Harding’s charity will help connect families living with MS to each other for support, help pay for treatments and medication, and spread information about MS so that more people know about the disease.
When Harding’s diagnosis was first announced, InGoal talked to Abbotsford Heat goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet about his experiences and challenges trying to play through multiple sclerosis while he was in the Boston Bruins’ organization, and helped connect the two.
The Minnesota Wild talked to Harding after the award, and put together this great video tribute: