I really didn't think my admiration for José could grow anymore than it already had. But after seeing this video when he talked to the media after being awarded the Masterton Trophy at this year's NHL Awards, my admiration went all the way to 11 (Spinal Tap reference there.)
This interview shows what a class act José is. Whatever personal problems he's had in the past, he's risen above them and persevered. I admire him greatly for that. The end of this interview is so emotional, his pain is palpable. And yet for him to be so gracious with the media here, it really shows what kind of guy he is. I really hope a team picks him up this season. The NHL would miss him on and off the ice.
For anyone unfamiliar with the situation, José was awarded the Masterton Trophy, which is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. He lost his infant son, Chace, in the Summer of 2009 from complications after he was born prematurely. The NHL Awards were held the day after what would've been Chace's first birthday.
José had his best season on the ice since his outstanding 2002 season. But it's what he did off the ice that revealed his true character. "He turned his personal grief into a way to help others by establishing Saves for Kids - a foundation created in his son's honor that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's National Medical Center. Theodore donates money for every save, every win and every shutout and has inspired others to give what they can, as well; his way of giving back to the people who helped his family through a tough time.
Through it all he was the utmost professional and, over the last few months of the season, a big reason for the Caps' success. He took personal tragedy and used it to fuel his performance while helping others, finding strength and comfort in the sport of hockey to help him through this tough time.
In short he was everything the Masterton Trophy stands for... and more."
José and Stephanie presented a check for $35,000 to the hospital after the season was over.