Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

-7°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Respect due for Hainsey

Writers pick blue-liner for prestigious Masterton nod

Posted: 04/18/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 04/18/2013 6:39 AM | Updates

Advertisement

  • Print

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.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 18, 2013 D2

History

Updated on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:39 AM CDT: adds photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

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.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.