|6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
185 lb (84 kg)
|Teams||Minnesota North Stars|
|Born||August 13, 1938,|
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
|Died||January 15, 1968 (age 29),|
Minneapolis, MN, USA
|Pro Career||1967 – 1968|
William "Bill" Masterton (August 13, 1938 – January 15, 1968) was a Canadian centre in the National Hockey League (NHL). Masterton died from an injury he suffered during a game. Along with Howie Morenz, Masterton is one of only two players in NHL history to be killed as a direct result of an on-ice incident during a game.
Early Life and Career[edit | edit source]
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.
Death[edit | edit source]
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."
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 without ever regaining consciousness.
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 for Dallas.
The Bill Masterton Trophy is named in his honor. The trophy is awarded for dedication, sportsmanship, and perseverance.
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.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|1955-56||St. Boniface Canadiens||MJHL||22||23||26||49||16||4||4||1||5||2|
|1956-57||St. Boniface Canadiens||MJHL||30||23||30||53||16||7||8||10||18||2|
|1957-58||Denver Pioneers (see note)||1st Year||--||--||--||--||--|
|St. Paul Steers||USHL|
|1965-66||St. Paul Steers||USHL||30||27||40||67||6|
|1966-67||United States National Team||USHL||23||10||29||39||4|
|1967-68||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||38||4||8||12||4||--||--||--||--||--|
Note: Freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity team.
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
- Turnbull Cup Manitoba Junior Hockey League Championship (1956)
- WCHA First All-Star Team (1960 & 1961)
- NCAA West First All-American Team (1960 & 1961)
- National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship (1960 & 1961)
- NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (1961)
- NCAA Championship Tournament MVP (1961)
- Eastern Professional Hockey League Championship (1962)
- Honoured Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame