Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/18/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 04/18/2013 6:39 AM | Updates
What Ron Hainsey did, he did for his fellow players and for the game of hockey.
There wasn't much in terms of personal gain for the Winnipeg Jets defenceman and, in fact, the downside has been both real and damaging.
Hainsey's work for the NHLPA, stepping forward into a role of leadership during the recent lockout, took courage, commitment and dedication. It was a mostly thankless job but one Hainsey took on anyway and executed in an effective manner. Hainsey was an architect of the agreement reached that will provide a 10-year solution and got the game back on the ice.
For this work and the solid brand of hockey he's played since getting back to his real job, the Winnipeg chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association has nominated Hainsey for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Hainsey's body of work as a player and member of the union throughout his eight-plus seasons in the NHL make him a strong candidate for this award.
The honour is named after the Winnipeg-born Masterton and is awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The trophy is often given to a player returning from a catastrophic injury but has also been used to honour players such as Hainsey for having shown great dedication to the game.
Based on the premise that Hainsey's work with the union required a rare level of commitment to hockey, the seven writers who make up the Winnipeg chapter of the PHWA -- Tim Campbell, Kirk Penton, Ken Wiebe, Paul Friesen, Ed Tait, Ted Wyman and myself -- unanimously chose Hainsey as our Masterton candidate. Hainsey and his work will be judged against the selections of the 29 other league chapters.
In many corners, Hainsey was reviled for his role in the lockout and CBA negotiations that pre-empted the start of this NHL season.
Some fans and management types still spit his name out. He became a lightning rod and a symbolic figure for the union, who many viewed as millionaires drunk on greed and bent on destroying the game.
Toward the end of the lockout, some wondered if Hainsey had affected his future marketability as a player. As recently as the trade deadline, there was discussion about whether the Boston Bruins and their hawk owner Jeremy Jacobs would avoid trading for Hainsey due to his position with the union.
The Jets, however, showed their respect for Hainsey's value as a player by not trading him despite his impending unrestricted free agency status. Surely, the Jets could have exchanged Hainsey for draft picks but they elected to keep him for what he brings to the team right now while risking losing him for nothing come July 1.
He's played top-four blue-liner minutes throughout the season and been a big part of the Jets and their push for a playoff berth.
Hainsey gained the respect and admiration of both his fellow players and his adversaries on the ownership and league side.
"Ron committed himself regularly and selflessly through what was obviously a very difficult and prolonged collective bargaining process," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. "He deserves tremendous credit, in my view, for his willingness to assume a leadership role in working to achieve a solution that ultimately ensured the return of the game to the ice.
"While we didn't always see eye to eye on specific issues, I greatly respected Ron's perspective and his passion throughout the negotiation."
Hainsey is not without his flaws. He can be combative and his personality and intellect sometimes lead to condescension. But there's been less evidence of that this season and it appears working with so many players and media during the lockout allowed Hainsey to be more patient.
There is no questioning Hainsey's commitment to his fellow players. He's gone well beyond words and made real and tangible sacrifices to forward their cause.
Hainsey represents some of the best things we can ask for in our professional athletes. Courage and passion.
Hainsey stood up to ownership and against popular opinion to do what he believed was right. That should always be commended.
One might not agree with some of the things Hainsey stands for but it can't be argued that he's disinterested in the future and health of the game.
Ron Hainsey is for hockey and the game is better for it.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @garylawless
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 18, 2013 D2
Updated on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:39 AM CDT: adds photo
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Son needs to get help for troubled girlfriend
Calling all carnivores
Redrawing the map
Time to act is now
New, not necessarily exciting
A fond farewell to my buddy, Dale
There's no mystery here; Messing's new show stinks
You are just a pit stop in life for indifferent lover, so drive on
Bye week should be more flexible
Voters driven to distraction on bus rapid transit
Dragging the river of pain in hopes of closure
Science vs. sentiment
Stress to conceive is killing your relationship
Gut-check time for Bombers
CMHR's future is up to us all
Putting spotlight on all Canada's vulnerable
Corea's adventures continue with new project
I'll sleep with CEOs to aid the homeless
Fest features teen lust, walrus masks and a bit of Boogaloo
Disastrous dinner date potentially dangerous
Move away from 'god' and find a single man
Have 127 hours of outdoors adventure
The last police witness
Scottish revolt on conservatives
Cold and wet harvest season adds to producers' challenges
Following in his father's PoW footsteps
Not your usual feminist icon
Boyfriend goes tit-for-tat with body-part insult
Film follows Bell's musical path
Across the borderline
Dress for success
Getting educated about RESPs
Argo-nots not an option
Firing young PC staffer over blog wasn't smart
A smooth, frothy, rich and sweet reason to celebrate
'Come on, get happy' works
Franklin's errors should inform Canada's map for Northwest Passage
Game on: It's election time on the Hill
World traveller needs adventurous homebody