The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. This year, one of the nominees for the prestigious award is Pheonix Copley, the backup goaltender for the Washington Capitals.
Copley’s journey to the NHL was not an easy one. He was undrafted out of high school and played for three different teams in the USHL before earning a scholarship to Michigan Tech. He spent two seasons there before signing with the Capitals as a free agent in 2014.
He then bounced around the minor leagues, playing for four different teams in the AHL and ECHL. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 2015, only to be traded back to the Capitals in 2017. He finally made his NHL debut in 2018, at the age of 26.
Since then, he has established himself as a reliable backup to Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby. He has posted a record of 16-7-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in 27 games this season. He has also recorded his first NHL shutout and his first NHL assist.
But Copley’s achievements on the ice are not the only reason why he is a worthy candidate for the Masterton Trophy. He is also a role model off the ice, especially for his fellow Indigenous players. Copley is a member of the Kainai Nation, also known as the Blood Tribe, in Alberta, Canada.
He is proud of his heritage and has used his platform to raise awareness and support for Indigenous causes. He has participated in events such as the Native American Heritage Night at Capital One Arena and the Willie O’Ree Skills Weekend in Washington D.C.
He has also donated equipment and money to Indigenous hockey programs and communities.
Copley said he was “honored” and “humbled” to be nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Washington chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He said he hopes to inspire other Indigenous players to pursue their dreams of playing hockey.
“I just want to show them that it’s possible,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your background is. If you work hard and have a passion for the game, you can make it.”
Copley is a testament to perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He is as deserving as they come for the Masterton nomination.
Final Thoughts: Pheonix Copley’s Journey to the Masterton Trophy
Pheonix Copley’s nomination for the Masterton Trophy is a testament to his perseverance and dedication to hockey. His journey from being undrafted out of high school to becoming a reliable backup goaltender in the NHL is nothing short of impressive.
But it’s not just his achievements on the ice that make him a worthy candidate for the Masterton Trophy. Copley’s commitment to raising awareness and support for Indigenous causes is a shining example of sportsmanship and dedication to community.
As a member of the Kainai Nation, Copley has used his platform to inspire and encourage other Indigenous players to pursue their dreams of playing hockey. He has shown that with hard work and passion, anything is possible.
Copley’s nomination for the Masterton Trophy is not just a recognition of his individual achievements, but also a celebration of his contribution to the wider community. He is a role model both on and off the ice, and his dedication to hockey and his heritage is an inspiration to many.
In conclusion, Pheonix Copley is a deserving nominee for the Masterton Trophy, and his journey to this point is a testament to the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication that the award seeks to recognize. He is a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work, passion, and a commitment to community.