Hockey's Historical Trophies

Pro hockey has a strong connection with its history. While many sports hand out awards for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, pro hockey awards deserving players a series of trophies. Much like the Stanley Cup, which is given to each year's champion, these trophies are named for important people in the sport's history. They allow fans and players to remember hockey's storied past.

Hart Memorial Trophy: The Hart Trophy is one of the NHL's oldest trophies. It is awarded to the league's most valuable player. This year, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won the award. The trophy is named after Dr. David Hart, who donated the trophy to the league in 1923. Dr. Hart's son was Cecil Hart, then the coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

Vezina Trophy: This trophy goes to the league's best goaltender. Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins won this year's award. The Vezina trophy was first awarded in 1927. It is named after Georges Vezina, who was a great goalie for Montreal in the 1920s.

Norris Memorial Trophy: The Norris Trophy is awarded to the NHL's best defensive player. It is important because it recognizes players who don't necessarily score a lot of goals. Defense isn't always as exciting as offense, but it is just as important. This season, the Bruins' Zdeno Chara won the award. The Norris Trophy was first awarded in 1954 and is named after James Norris, who owned the Detroit Red Wings from 1932 to 1952.

Calder Memorial Trophy: This trophy goes to the league's top rookie. Many young players have trouble adjusting to the professional game, so it's important to recognize those who are mature and talented enough to make an immediate impact on the NHL. It is named for Frank Calder, who was the president of the NHL when it was founded in 1917. It was first handed out in 1937. Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets won the award this season.

Lady Byng Trophy: This is one of hockey's oldest and most honored awards. In 1925, a woman named Lady Byng, who was married to a Canadian war hero, donated this cup to a player she thought was a true gentleman. Since then, it has been awarded each year to the NHL player who best demonstrates sportsmanship. Hockey is a rough sport and many players can be driven to lose their temper. The Lady Byng Trophy honors the players who appreciate the hard work of opposing players and respect the decisions of coaches and referees. This year's winner was Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings.

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