Monday, November 13, 2006

Is the Messier Award Inappropriate?

Again nothing against Mark Messier, but did the NHL really think this one through and decide whether this was the best name for this new award? Having an award named after you is a much higher honour than being inducted to the Hall of Fame - only 15 trophies have been named after individuals while by my count there are 413 inductees to the Hall prior to tonight's festivities.

Is this the best way of honouring probably the greatest leader of all-time or is the league being disrespectful of the history of the game and those who have built and given their lives to the sport?

Other annual awards were donated/named after league presidents, royalty/political figures, to honour the deceased the and for the league's builders (descriptions used from Maurice Richard was the only player to have an award named after him while he was still alive, and the award was created 39 years after his retirement :

* Frank Calder (from 1936-37 until his death in 1943, Frank Calder, NHL President, bought a trophy each year to be given permanently to the outstanding rookie)
* Clarence Campbell (president from 1946 to 1977)

* Maurice Richard Trophy (a gift to the NHL from the Canadiens in 1999 to honor the first player in League history to score 50 goals in 50 games, 50 goals in a season and 500 in a career. Richard had retired in 1960 and passed away a year after the trophy was created)

* Bill Masterton (to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited, to a high degree, the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968, after an injury sustained during a hockey game)
* Georges Vezina (Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau, and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, outstanding goalkeeper of the Canadiens, who collapsed during an NHL game Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later)

* Prince of Wales Trophy (donated in 1924)
* Lady Byng (wife of Canada's Governor-General at the time, presented the Lady Byng trophy in 1925. After Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won the award seven times in eight seasons, he was given the trophy to keep and Lady Byng donated another trophy in 1936. After Lady Byng's death in 1949, the National Hockey League presented a new trophy, changing the name to Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.)
* Lester B. Pearson (in honor of the late Lester B. Pearson, former Prime Minister of Canada)

* Art Ross (Arthur Howie Ross, former manager-coach of the Boston Bruins, presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1947).
* Conn Smythe (presented by Maple Leaf Gardens Limited in 1964 to honor Conn Smythe, the former coach, manager, president and owner-governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs)
* Selke Trophy (presented to the National Hockey League in 1977 by the Board of Governors of the NHL in honor of Frank J. Selke, one of the great architects of NHL championship teams)
Hart Memorial (donated to the NHL in 1923 by Dr. David A. Hart, father of Cecil Hart, former manager-coach of the Montreal Canadiens)
* Jack Adams (to commemorate the late Jack Adams, former coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. His lifetime dedication to hockey has served as an inspiration to all who aspire to further the game)
* James Norris (presented in 1953 by the four children of the late James Norris in memory of the former owner-president of the Detroit Red Wings)
* Clancy Trophy (to honor the late Frank "King" Clancy - former player, coach and referee)
* Lester Patrick Trophy (to honor the late Lester Patrick. Patrick was a longtime general manager and coach of the Rangers, whose teams finished out of the playoffs only once in his first 16 years with the club)
* Jennings Trophy (to honor the late William M. Jennings, longtime governor and president of the New York Rangers and one of the great builders of hockey in the United States)

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