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Mirtle: Forty years since Masterton's death Add to ...

A big thanks to reader John Richardson, who pointed out that today is the 40th anniversary of Bill Masterton's death. To this day, the Minnesota North Stars forward remains the only player to die as a result of injuries suffered during an NHL game. Masterton, 29 at the time, was checked by Larry Cahan and Ron Harris of the Oakland Seals, and hit his head on the ice after falling backwards. The game took place Jan. 13, 1968, in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Masterton died in hospital two days later due to a brain injury. His death led to the lobbying of more widespread use of helmets, and a mandatory helmet rule was passed in the summer of 1979. The NHL still honours Masterton with a trophy in his name that is awarded for dedication, sportsmanship, and perseverance. His No. 19 jersey hangs in the rafters down in Dallas, where the Stars franchise moved more than 25 years after his death. Mike Heika from the Dallas Morning News had a great story this week on the anniversary.

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