Accident & Death
William J. Masterton passed away on January 15, 1968. Two days prior, in a game against the Oakland Seals, he had been checked by Oakland's Larry Cahan and Ron Harris, and fallen backwards onto the ice head-first. Masterton suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that damaged the pons. The injury was to severe that doctors were unable to perform any kind of surgery. He is the only player in NHL history to be killed as a direct result of an on-ice incident during a game.
Masterton's #19 jersey has not been worn by another Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars player since. It was officially retired by the franchise in 1987.
The Bill Masterton Trophy is annually awarded to the NHL player who best personifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication the game throughout the season. In 1979, the NHL implemented a rule that all players entering the league onwards must wear helmets. Forward Craig MacTavish was the last player to play without one.