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Bobby Ryan wins 2020 Masterton Trophy after returning from alcohol issues

Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan received the 2019-20 Masterton Trophy. The Professional Hockey Writers Association voted Ryan as the Masterton winner for an award “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

While Ryan won the trophy, Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns and Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom ranked as the other finalists. Check out the full list of nominees here.

Robin Lehner was last year’s winner.

[2020 NHL Conference Finals schedule]

Why Bobby Ryan won the 2020 Masterton Trophy

Back in November, Ryan left the Senators to enter the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program to deal with an alcohol problem. Following that treatment, Ryan recorded a hat trick in his first game back in Ottawa. That led to emotional standing ovations and Ryan being name the game’s No. 1 star.

Upon receiving the Masterton Trophy, Ryan called entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.

With all of that in mind, Ryan hopes that his story inspires others.

“Because I’ve been open and candid about that, I think people have looked at me and said, ‘There’s a very relatable person,’” Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. “Through my family stuff and now with alcohol issues, I’ve never hid from it and I’ve always said, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to do it in the public eye and I’m going to have to be candid with it.”

During this week, the NHL will announce other 2020 NHL Awards winners.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.