Press Release: FRANCIS NAMED FINALIST FOR MASTERTON TROPHY
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON JUNE 20 IN TORONTO
Saku Koivu and Ron Francis -- along with Kevin Dineen -- will face off again for the Masterton Trophy.
Dineen, a previous Masterton finalist, is an 18-year National Hockey League veteran. The 38-year-old forward has battled Crohn's Disease, a debilitating intestinal malady, for much of his career. He has championed charities associated with Crohn's and other gastro-intestinal diseases. The past two seasons, Dineen helped establish the expansion Blue Jackets as one of the team's most visible players in the community.
Francis, Carolina's 39-year-old captain, finished in the top 10 in NHL scoring with 27 goals, 50 assists. The face-off master was instrumental in the Hurricanes' first-round playoff victory over the New Jersey Devils and continued to lead the team to the the Stanley Cup Finals. He is respected by his peers as one of the classiest athletes the game has ever known.
Koivu, the Montreal captain, completed a storybook comeback from cancer treatment when he returned to the Canadiens in Game No. 79 of the regular season -- the same night Montreal would clinch a playoff spot. Koivu was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma prior to training camp, 2001. He endured and overcame the side effects of the treatments and refused to be deterred from returning to his team.
The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 20 in Toronto.