In a season that started with being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Josh Harding's perseverance and dedication to the game have earned him a big NHL honor.

Harding was named the recipient of the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy during the annual NHL Awards on Friday evening.

Harding was involved with a couple games in net for the Wild before going on injured reserve for much of the regular season while he and his doctors worked to find treatment options that would allow him to continue playing.

Harding was called upon to start between the pipes for the Wild after Niklas Backstrom injured himself in warmups before game one of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Chicago.

Harding had the following to say after being named the winner of the award:

I’m honored to be named this year’s recipient of the Masterton Trophy and I thank the PHWA for selecting me. It’s a compliment to be a finalist alongside Sidney Crosby and Adam McQuaid and I’d like to recognize their inspiring seasons. I’m very fortunate to have the support of so many great people who have helped me through the ups and downs of multiple sclerosis, starting with my friends, family and doctors. I thank my teammates and the entire Wild organization for believing in me and for their ongoing support. I also want to thank those across the NHL, NHLPA and the MS community who reached out with their encouragement during a challenging year. I’m incredibly grateful for this honor.

This award is a first for the franchise, as the Wild have not had a player win a voted-on NHL award up to this point.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) nominate players for the The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, and vote for a winner at the end of the regular season. The award is named after and in memory of Bill Masterton, who played for the Minnesota North Stars and exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968 as a result of head injuries suffered during a game.

[Minnesota Wild]