Saturday, January 14, 2017

The History of the Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy
Once a year, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association holds a vote to determine which player was the most valuable to his team during the regular season. That player is awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy. The trophy, originally known as just the Hart Trophy, was donated to the NHL in 1923 by David Hart. He was the father of Cecil Hart, former Coach and General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

In 1960, the original trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame. A new trophy took its place, known as the Hart Memorial Trophy. 

Frank Nighbor with the
original Hart Trophy
Aside from Tommy Anderson, Al Rollins and José Theodore, every player that has won the trophy has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. It has been awarded 90 times to 54 different players since first being bestowed upon Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators at the conclusion of the 1923-24 season. 

The voting takes place at the end of the regular season. Each voter from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association ranks their top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is then awarded during the NHL Awards Ceremony after the playoffs.

This voting is not based on just player statistics. Each voter chooses their top five candidates in their opinion using his/her own judgement. Some liken this to a popularity contest. Regardless of one’s opinion of the selection process, the Hart Memorial Trophy is truly an honor to those players awarded it. The recipients of the past ten seasons are as follows:

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