On Tuesday, March 31 the Buffalo Sabres announced that defenseman Mike Weber was chosen as the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, perserverence, and dedication to hockey.
Weber was selected as the Sabres nominee by the Buffalo Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association (PHWA). A nominee is chosen for each team, and a winner is chosen by the PHWA in a vote at the end of the regular season.
According to The Buffalo News, the 27-year-old Weber was nominated by the team for being a veteran leader on a young team, serving as a mentor for young defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen. As the longest tenured player on the team, he is also seen as a spokesman for the team during tough times, not only as a vocal leader in the locker room during a disappointing season, but also in representing the Sabres in speaking about the death of former NHL defenseman and teammate Steve Montador in February.
A seven-year veteran with 305 games of NHL experience, Weber was drafted 57th overall by the Sabres in the second round of the 2006 NHL draft. In those 305 games, Weber has registered eight goals and 40 assists for 48 points, while adding 375 penalty minutes and a minus-43 rating. In 63 games this season he has one goal and six assists for seven total points, 66 penalty minutes, and a minus-20 rating. He also leads the team in blocked shots with 165 while averaging 18:43 of ice time per game.
The Sabres have had two previous winners of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, Don Luce in 1975, and Pat LaFontaine in 1995. The award is named after former NHL player Bill Masterton, who is the only player in NHL history to die from injuries sustained in a game, while playing for the Minnesota North Stars on Jan. 15, 1968.