Each year, every team in the NHL will have one player nominated by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to receive the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. For the Calgary Flames, their nominee, Mark Giordano, is wholly deserving of such recognition.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. An award normally reserved for a player who is able to come back from a career of life threatening injury or illness, the nomination of Giordano is a tribute to the not only his skills as a hockey player, but to the intangibles he brings to the Flames as their captain.
To say Giordano is a late bloomer would be a disservice to the player and the man. Giordano went undrafted and signed with the Flames after an overage season of junior hockey, playing on the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. This is where the fun begins.
Giordano spent two years playing in the AHL before earning his NHL debut in 2006. He would play seven times for the Flames during the 2005-06 season. In 2006-07, Giordano was again back and forth between the AHL and the Flames. After the season, Giordano and the Flames were unable to agree on a contract, so he joined Russian Super League team HC Dynamo Moscow for the 2007-08 season. After a successful season in Russia, Giordano and the Flames came to terms on a three-year contract. At the age of 25, Giordano had finally reaped the benefit of his hard work and was now a full-time member of the Flames to start the 2008-09 season.
Fast forward to the 2013-14 season. Giordano is now the captain of the Flames. At the age of 30, he is enjoying a career year offensively, registering 13 goals and 32 assists with four games still to play in the season. He narrowly missed out on a spot on Canada’s gold medal winning 2014 Sochi Olympics team. Just to be in the discussion for a team of that caliber highlights not only the abilities of Giordano, but the respect he now has league-wide as a premier defenseman in the NHL.