The award is presented to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
Crosby returned to form this year after missing extended time with concussion issues the past two seasons. The Penguins captain finished fourth in the NHL with 56 points despite missing 12 games because of injuries, including a broken jaw he suffered when hit in the face with a puck on March 30.
Harding received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis last fall and missed 33 games as he underwent treatment. On April 22, he was activated from injured reserve and returned to the Wild lineup.
McQuaid suffered a season-threatening injury in September when he was diagnosed with a condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that was causing dangerous blood clots to form in his body. After undergoing two emergency surgeries to remove the clots, the defenceman was deemed unfit to continue his normal off-season workouts. But McQuaid dedicated himself to his recovery and was in the lineup when the Bruins opened the season against the Rangers in January.
A $2,500 grant from the Professional Hockey Writers' Association is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
The local chapters of the PHWA submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup final.