Mark Letestu is the Winnipeg Jets Masterton Award nominee. Letestu has only played in seven games this year and the last game he played in was on October 13 when he was felled by a heart virus. He was out for six months and as his potential return to the NHL neared, he was able to play for the Manitoba Moose before all the North American hockey leagues (and hockey leagues around the world) shut down because of the novel coronavirus. He could end up with the Jets when they league starts back up again.
The Masterton Award is an interesting award to begin with. It is named after the lone player to die because of an injury acquired in a game, Bill Masterton. It goes to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey which has led to some debate over who should be getting the the award because it has become an award for a player who has gone through a major health issue and not necessarily a player who has shown the those qualities, especially sportsmanship. The award has turned into the “player who has gone through the worst medical event” more than anything. But it also begs the question why there has to be a singular award winner when there are multiple players around the league who have remained dedicated to hockey and have persevered through a lot to play in the NHL and in some cases excel.
Letestu is a fine nominee for the Jets this year. He fits the criteria cited in the award description. The award itself is a memorial award for a player who died because of an on-ice injury. It is a tough award to award because it is about measuring who has persevered through more to play the game of ice hockey. Maybe the award should recognize each of the chapter nominees for their perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey instead of making it seem to be the “suffering Olympics”.