Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Howe, Gretzky and Orr Should Be Honored With Re-Named Trophies

You could say that the NHL got the ball rolling with the creation of the Maurice Richard Trophy in 1999 but they also created the problem where other great players such as Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr are not similarly honored. No offense to the great Rocket, but the three aforementioned players were just as important to the history of the game as the former Hab’s star.

So do you bend over backwards and try to create three new trophies or does the league take a serious look at renaming some of their existing hardware?

There is no law that says you have to honour these players with their own trophies but it would create a positive buzz for the league and allow fans to actually identify the awards with names they actually know something about. Yes, that might seem like a disservice to three names I’m nominating to get changed, but much like the rings get taken off the Stanley Cup once the names underneath them get filled, the people honored for these three trophies have been celebrated for most of the century so far and should not be seen as being replaced.

It might just be time to honour some other deserving names for the next 50 to 100 years.

Here are the three trophies I propose to be re-named. Any other suggestions would be great to hear.


Hart Trophy (for most valuable player in the NHL) should be changed to:

The Gordie Howe Trophy.

Who else to name this trophy after than Mr.Hockey himself? Gordie won the Hart 6 times during his incredible 26 NHL seasons and is widely considered to be the most complete hockey player to ever play the game. Only Wayne Gretzky with 9 has won more Hart’s than Howe but Gretzky’s major claim to fame will always be his scoring exploits and he seems more suited to have the Art Ross Trophy named after him. It would be a fitting tribute to a legend that still may be the most popular and well-known hockey player of all-time.

Originally named after: Dr. David Hart, donor of the trophy and father of one-time Montreal coach and general manager Cecil Hart.


Art Ross Trophy (for the highest scoring player in a season) should be changed to:

The Wayne Gretzky Trophy.

Complete no-brainer. Gretzky won the Art Ross an astounding 10 times including 7 in a row from 1981 to 1987. Only Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux even come close with 6 wins apiece.

Originally named after: Arthur Howie Ross, donor of the trophy, Hall of Fame Player and one-time coach and general manager of the Boston Bruins.


James Norris Trophy (for best defenseman in a season) should be changed to:

The Bobby Orr Trophy.

Another easy one. Orr revolutionized the position in his relatively short 12 year career and won the Norris Trophy an incredible 8 years in a row from 1968 to 1975. Only four players have scored more points per game on average – Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe and Mike Bossy.

Originally named after: James E. Norris, former owner of the Detroit Red Wings.


Adam said...

Great idea. I'm surprised that this is the first time that I've seen it suggested.

I'd leave the Vezina and Adams awards as-is, though.

Jimmah said...

You can't just change the names on a sport that dwells so much on it history. It is about the historical value of the trophy you are getting, not the name of it - it's the name on it!!! It's like saying lets change the Stanley Cup to the Believeau Cup cause his names on it so many times!
Only way around it is to retire the old cups and create brand new ones, but this loses it's historical value.
Just leave this one alone!

SoCal said...

Pretty good idea. We got rid of the old division & conference names without any lasting damage.

Btw, I can assure you that Gordie Howe did not have a higher point per game average than Bobby Orr.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about this -- partly for discontinuity reasons (Gretzky won 9 Gordie Howe awards formerly known as the Hart awards :) ).

How about some new trophies?

Gretzky was Mr. Pass. Why not create a companion trophy to the Richard trophy for most assists, named after the Great One?

Orr? A new trophy for most points by a defenceman, since they are likely to never win the Art Ross. i.e. the Art Ross to the defenceman's Norris (Hart-like), esp. since the most offensive defenceman is not always a lock on the Norris.

Howe? Trickier. You could build something around the ethos of the "Howe hat trick" (goal, assist, fight) -- although announcers keep saying he only had one of those. But the combination of offensive output and grit might be interesting. Most spirited play, coupled with offence?