Josh Harding has been playing hockey since he was 4.

So as hard as the news was when he learned he had multiple sclerosis, the thought of giving up the sport didn't cross his mind.

On Friday, as part of the NHL's awards ceremony, Harding was named winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

He is the first Wild player to win the award. Sidney Crosby and Adam McQuaid were the other finalists.

In 1980, Al MacAdam of the Minnesota North Stars won the Masterton, named after the North Stars forward who died during the 1967-68 season after an injury sustained in a game.