A Brief History of the Vezina and Hart Trophies

Posted on April 4, 2012 by


The Vezina trophy, which Vanbiesbrouck won in 1986

The Vezina trophy

It’s very exciting to see one of our own being considered for the Vezina trophy. Jonathan Quick certainly deserves it and the fans, who have stuck by the Kings deserve it as well. The Vezina trophy has been a coveted award since the 1920’s. It is named in honour of Georges Vezina, goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens from 1910 until 1925., who died in 1926 from tuberculosis. It has been awarded annually since 1927.

A photo of Georges Vézina, goaltender of the M...

A photo of Georges Vézina, goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, 1910-1925.

Starting with the 1981-82 season, the Vezina trophy has been given to the most outstanding goaltender as voted by the managers of the NHL teams. Jacques Plante holds the record for winning the most Vezinas with seven, followed by Bill Durnan and Dominik Hasek both of whom have won six. Players for the Montreal Canadiens have won the Vezina 28 times. In the 1973-74 season, The Chicago Black Hawks and the Philadelphia Flyers finished tied for the fewest goals against, therefore their respective goaltenders Tony Esposito and Bernie Parent were both awarded the trophy, the only time it would be shared between two players from different teams.

There are only three players that have won both the Vezina and Hart Memorial trophy for the same season; Jacques Plante for the 1961-61 season; Dominik Hasek for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons; and Jose Theodore for the 2001-02 NHL season.

Fear the Jaques Plante mask.

Fear the Jaques Plante mask.

The voting is conducted at the end of the regular season by the 30 general managers of the teams in the National Hockey League, and each individual voter ranks their top three candidates on a 5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL awards ceremony after the playoffs.

In 1927 when introduced, the Vezina trophy was awarded to the most valuable goaltender in the league. In 1946, the NHL governors changed the criteria for winning to the team with the fewest goals scored against it during the season. The goalie playing the most games was awarded the trophy. The conditions were later amended to be given to the goaltenders having played 25 games. In 1982 the NHL adopted the current criteria for the Vezina trophy. The William M. Jennings trophy was created as a new award for the goaltender(s) of the team that surrenders the fewest goals in regular season play.

Turk Broda with the Vezina Trophy in 1948.

Turk Broda with the Vezina Trophy in 1948.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is the oldest and most prestigious individual award in hockey.. It is awarded annually to the player adjudged the most valuable to his team in the National Hockey League.  The voting is conducted at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers association, and each individual voter ranks their five top candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL awards ceremony after the playoffs.

Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player....

Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player.

Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers.

Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is named in honor of Canadian Dr. David Hart., who donated the original trophy to NHL, was the father of Cecil Hart, a former coach and General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens. The Hart trophy was first awarded at the conclusion of 1923-24 NHL season. The first winner was Frank Nugent of the Ottawa Senators. Every eligible player who won the Hart Trophy has been inducted into the hall of fame.

Wayne Gretzky won the award a record nine times during his career, eight consecutively. He has been named MVP more times than any other player in history of the three North American Major Professional Leagues (major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Football League). Barry Bond is second having won the ward in Major League Baseball. Gretzky and his teammate Mark Messier are the only players to win the Hart trophy with more than one team. Players from the Montreal Canadiens have won the award sixteen times; players from Boston are second with twelve winners, and the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers have seen payers win the award nine times.

So, there you have it; everything you wanted to know about these trophies but were afraid to ask. There are many more trophies awarded in the NHL but I believe these two are the most prestigious. No matter how this season ends for the Kings, we are blessed as fans to see the resilience our players have shown in the past two months. The next two games will be interesting to say the least.

GO KINGS!!!

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