What is the Hart Memorial Trophy?

Photo: NHL

The Hart Memorial Trophy, commonly known as the Hart Trophy, is among the most prestigious individual awards in the National Hockey League (NHL). It is awarded annually to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team during the regular season. The trophy has a rich history dating back to its inception in the 1923-24 season.

The Hart Trophy was donated to the NHL by Dr. David A. Hart, the father of Cecil Hart, who was the head coach and general manager of the Montreal Canadiens at the time. Dr. Hart was a prominent physician and businessman in Montreal, and he wanted to honor his son’s achievements in the NHL by creating an award for the league’s most valuable player.

The first winner of the Hart Trophy was Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators in the 1923-24 season. Nighbor was known for his excellent two-way play and was instrumental in leading the Senators to the Stanley Cup that season. The trophy quickly became a coveted prize for players, and its prestige grew over the years.

One of the most dominant players in the history of the Hart Trophy is Wayne Gretzky. He won the award a record nine times during his illustrious career, including eight consecutive seasons from 1980-81 to 1987-88. Gretzky’s incredible offensive production and ability to make those around him better made him a perennial favorite for the award.

Other players who have won the Hart Trophy multiple times include Eddie Shore, Bobby Clarke, and Mario Lemieux. These players were recognized for their incredible talent and leadership on the ice, and their names are etched in NHL history as some of the greatest to ever play the game.

Over the years, the selection process for the Hart Trophy has evolved. In the early years, the winner was selected by a poll of NHL coaches and managers. In the 1960s, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) began selecting the winner, a process that remains in place today.

In recent years, there has been some controversy surrounding the Hart Trophy. Some argue that the award should go to the player who is the most valuable to his team, while others believe it should go to the player who has the best overall performance. This debate has led to some interesting selections, with some players winning the award despite not leading their teams to playoff success.

Despite the controversy, the Hart Trophy remains one of the most prestigious individual awards in the NHL. The players who have won the trophy over the years are some of the greatest in the history of the game, and their achievements will be remembered for generations to come. As the NHL continues to evolve, the Hart Trophy will continue to be a symbol of excellence and achievement for the league’s most valuable players.

  • 1923-24 – Frank Nighbor, Ottawa Senators
  • 1924-25 – Billy Burch, Hamilton Tigers
  • 1925-26 – Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
  • 1926-27 – Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1927-28 – Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1928-29 – Roy Worters, New York Americans
  • 1929-30 – Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
  • 1930-31 – Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1931-32 – Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1932-33 – Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1933-34 – Charlie Conacher, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1934-35 – Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1935-36 – Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1936-37 – Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1937-38 – Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1938-39 – Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1939-40 – Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1940-41 – Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
  • 1941-42 – Tommy Anderson, Brooklyn Americans
  • 1942-43 – Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
  • 1943-44 – Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1944-45 – Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1945-46 – Max Bentley, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1946-47 – Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1947-48 – Buddy O’Connor, New York Rangers
  • 1948-49 – Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1949-50 – Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1950-51 – Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins
  • 1951-52 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1952-53 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1953-54 – Al Rollins, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1954-55 – Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1955-56 – Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1956-57 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1957-58 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1958-59 – Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers
  • 1959-60 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1960-61 – Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1961-62 – Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1962-63 – Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1963-64 – Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1964-65 – Bobby Hull, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1965-66 – Bobby Hull, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1966-67 – Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1967-68 – Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1968-69 – Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
  • 1969-70 – Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1970-71 – Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
  • 1971-72 – Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1972-73 – Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1973-74 – Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
  • 1974-75 – Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1975-76 – Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1976-77 – Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1977-78 – Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1978-79 – Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
  • 1979-80 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1980-81 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1981-82 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1982-83 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1983-84 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1984-85 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1985-86 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1986-87 – Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1987-88 – Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1988-89 – Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1989-90 – Mark Messier, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1990-91 – Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues
  • 1991-92 – Mark Messier, New York Rangers
  • 1992-93 – Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1993-94 – Sergei Fedorov, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1994-95 – Eric Lindros, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1995-96 – Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1996-97 – Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1997-98 – Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1998-99 – Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1999-00 – Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
  • 2000-01 – Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2001-02 – Jose Theodore, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2002-03 – Peter Forsberg, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2003-04 – Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2004-05 – No winner (lockout)
  • 2005-06 – Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
  • 2006-07 – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2007-08 – Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2008-09 – Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2009-10 – Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
  • 2010-11 – Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
  • 2011-12 – Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2012-13 – Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2013-14 – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2014-15 – Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2015-16 – Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2016-17 – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  • 2017-18 – Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
  • 2018-19 – Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2019-20 – Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
  • 2020-21 – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  • 2021-22 – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  • Note: The NHL did not award the Hart Memorial Trophy in the 2004-05 season due to the lockout.

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