The Flyers announced Wednesday that the Flyers’ nominee for the NHL’s Bill Masterton trophy would be Ian Laperriere.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” was voted on by Philadelphia-area hockey writers, and the choice was an obvious one.
Having not played a single game all season, Laperriere was surprised by the nomination, which he takes as a sign that he’s doing something right.
“I know what it means,” he said. “It means that I tried to be a good human being on and off the ice, and when you guys are voting for me, it’s telling me that I’m doing a pretty good job off the ice.”
One of the hardest things for Laperriere is being forced to look from the outside at something that he’s so used to being in the middle of.
“It’s been hard watching – it’s been hard not to be a part of something like I’ve been used to since I’m five years old, but that’s something I have to deal with,” he said. “It’s been a hard year, but there is nothing I can do about it.”
Laperriere takes some relief, though, in the fact that his career took him to Philadelphia.
“I am a big believer that for me to be a Flyer while it happened to me is kind of … there is something behind it,” he said. “They are taking care of me and I can’t imagine any other team – maybe a couple of teams, but not that many teams – that would take care of their players like they are doing with me.
“They know how much I love the game – I just can’t play right now and they just give me all the tools to stay in the game and stay close to the game. I can’t thank the Flyers enough.”
Being able to stay connected to the sport he loves is all that matters to Laperriere, and coaching may be the best way to do that.
“To be honest, I just can’t see myself going in another direction than hockey. Hockey has been my life and is going to always be my first love,” he said. “I have always been an approachable guy … I think that the younger guys appreciate that. I can relate to those young guys.
“We will see where life is going to take me, but right now I try to touch everything. I try to touch the media types, radio, TV and stuff like that. I’ll try to touch everything before I have to make a decision.”