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History Of NHL Awards

We’ve wrapped up another exciting season of NHL hockey, and while our beloved Blues didn’t make it all the way, it’s definitely fun to watch the winning team celebrate. From the biggest prize — the Stanley Cup — to smaller (but equally important) player awards, here are the top NHL awards.

The Stanley Cup: This is the oldest and most recognizable award given out to National Hockey League teams. It was first awarded in 1893 and continues to go to the winner of the NHL playoff games:

Ironically, Lord Stanley never witnessed a championship game nor attended a presentation of his trophy, having returned to his native England during the 1893 season. Nevertheless, the quest for the trophy he donated has become one of the world’s most prestigious sporting competitions.

President’s Cup: This trophy is awarded to the NHL team that finishes the regular season with the highest-performing overall record. It started as a tradition during the 1985-86 season, and the Detroit Red Wings have the most of these trophies at a total of six wins.

Prince of Wales Trophy: This was presented in the NHL after His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales donated the trophy in 1924. When the league expanded in 1967, the trophy was awarded to the East Division and today it goes to the playoff champion in the Eastern Conference.

The Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Named after the former NHL president, this trophy was initially given to the regular-season West Division champion. Since the 1993-94 season, the bowl has been awarded to the playoff champion in the Western Conference.

Conn Smythe Trophy: Awarded to the most valuable player for any team participating in the playoffs, the Conn Smythe trophy became a tradition in 1965. There have been a total of 47 players to receive this trophy, with several winning up to three times — like Patrick Roy.

Hart Memorial Trophy: The Hart Memorial trophy is the MVP award chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association on an annual basis. Wayne Gretzky is currently the trophy record winner with a total of 8 awarded throughout his career.

Calder Memorial Trophy: This is the trophy that goes to the highest-performing new player during their rookie year. “NHL President Frank Calder bought a trophy each year to be given permanently to the outstanding rookie. After Calder’s death, the NHL presented the Calder Memorial Trophy in his memory and the trophy is to be kept in perpetuity.”

Vezina Trophy: Beginning in 1926, this trophy is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position” as voted on by NHL club general managers. Fun fact for the next time you’re at bar trivia: The Montreal Canadiens have won this trophy a record 29 times. 

James Norris Memorial Trophy: This award is given on an annual basis to the NHL defensive player who shows the highest level of performance within their position. If you recall, Bobby Orr won this trophy for eight consecutive seasons from 1968-1975.

Art Ross Trophy: Did your favorite player rack up the goal points this season? There’s a good chance they could win this award — which initially started in 1947. A tidbit that may not surprise you: Wayne Gretzky also holds the record for this award, with a whopping 10 trophies under his belt (skate?).

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: The wife of a former Canadian governor presented the first trophy in 1925. Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won the award seven times in eight seasons from 1927-35 — but no goaltender has ever won the Byng.

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