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National Hockey League awards facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Trophies 2006nhlawards
Trophies on display at the 2006 NHL Awards Ceremony.

The National Hockey League presents lots of annual awards and trophies to recognize its teams and players. The oldest, and most notable, is the Stanley Cup. First awarded in 1893, the Stanley Cup is awarded to the NHL's playoff champion. The Stanley Cup is the third trophy to be used as the league's championship, as for the first nine years of the NHL's existence, it remained a multiple league challenge cup.


The NHL's first championship trophy was the O'Brien Trophy, which was created by the National Hockey Association in 1910 and was acquired by the NHL in 1918, after which it was awarded to the playoff champion until 1923. The O'Brien Trophy was retired in favour of the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1924, which became the league's championship until the end of the Western Hockey League following the 1926 season, leaving the Stanley Cup exclusively in the hands of the National Hockey League.

The Prince of Wales Trophy remains an active award. It is presently awarded to the playoff champion of the Eastern Conference, while the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, created in 1967, is currently awarded to the Western Conference champion. The youngest team trophy is the Presidents' Trophy, which has been awarded to the NHL's regular season champion since 1986.

The first individual trophy was the Hart Trophy, first awarded in 1924 to the league's most valuable player. The Lady Byng Trophy followed a year later, awarded to the most gentlemanly player in the league. Two years later, the Vezina Trophy was created for the NHL's top goaltender. The Conn Smythe Trophy was first awarded to the NHL's playoff most valuable player in 1965. Presently, the NHL has 17 annual individual trophies and awards, the most recently created being the Mark Messier Leadership Award, first awarded in 2007.

Team trophies

Award Created Description Current holder
Hhof stanley cup.jpg Stanley Cup 1893 Awarded to the NHL playoff champion since 1927. Previously it was a challenge cup (1893-1914) and then an interleague championship trophy (1915-1926) Los Angeles Kings
Hhof prince of wales.jpg Prince of Wales Trophy 1924 Awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champion, since 1994. Previously awarded as the NHL playoff championship (1924-1926), the regular season championship (1927, 1939-1967), the American Division championship (1928-1938), East Division championship (1968-1974) and Wales Conference championship (1975-1993) New York Rangers
Hhof campbell.jpg Clarence S. Campbell Bowl 1968 Awarded to the Western Conference playoff champion, since 1994. Previously awarded as the West Division title (1968-1974) and Campbell Conference championship (1975-1993) Los Angeles Kings
Presidents' Trophy 1986 Awarded to the club finishing the regular season with the best overall record (based on points) Vancouver Canucks
O'Brien Trophy 1910 Awarded by the National Hockey Association (1910-1917) and NHL (1918-1923) to the league playoff champion, Canadian Division regular season champion (1927-1938), and Stanley Cup runner-up (1939-1950) Retired in 1950

Individual trophies and awards

Image Award Created Description Current holder
Hhof hart.jpg Hart Memorial Trophy 1924 Awarded to the league's most valuable player Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins
Ladybyngtrophy.jpg Lady Byng Memorial Trophy 1925 Awarded to the player who exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability Pavel Datsyuk
Detroit Red Wings
Hhof vezina.jpg Vezina Trophy 1927 Awarded to the league's top goaltender Martin Brodeur
New Jersey Devils
Hhof calder.jpg Calder Memorial Trophy 1937 Awarded to the league's most outstanding rookie player Evgeni Malkin
Pittsburgh Penguins
Artrosstrophy.jpg Art Ross Trophy 1948 Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season Alexander Ovechkin
Washington Capitals
Hhof norris.jpg James Norris Memorial Trophy 1954 Awarded to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position Nicklas Lidström
Detroit Red Wings
Hhof connsmythe.jpg Conn Smythe Trophy 1965 Awarded to the most valuable player for his team in the playoffs Henrik Zetterberg
Detroit Red Wings
Hhof masterton.jpg Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy 1968 Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey Phil Kessel
Boston Bruins
Hhof lester pearson.jpg Lester B. Pearson Award 1971 Awarded to the NHL's outstanding player as selected by the members of the NHL Players Association Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins
Hhof jack adams.jpg Jack Adams Award 1974 Awarded to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success Alain Vigneault
Vancouver Canucks
Hhof selke.jpg Frank J. Selke Trophy 1978 Awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game Rod Brind'Amour
Carolina Hurricanes
William M. Jennings Trophy (Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto).jpg William M. Jennings Trophy 1982 Awarded to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it in the regular season Dominik Hasek &
Chris Osgood
Detroit Red Wings
NHL Plus/Minus Award 1983 Awarded to the player with the highest plus/minus statistic in the regular season Pavel Datsyuk
Detroit Red Wings
Hhof clancy.jpg King Clancy Memorial Trophy 1988 Awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community Saku Koivu
Montreal Canadiens
NHL Foundation Player Award 1998 Awarded to the player who applies the core values of hockey to enrich the lives of people in his community Joe Sakic
Colorado Avalanche
Hhof maurice richard.jpg Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy 1999 Awarded to the top goal scorer in the regular season Alexander Ovechkin
Washington Capitals
Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award 2000 Awarded to the goaltender who has played a minimum of 25 games in the regular season and has the highest save percentage Dan Ellis
Nashville Predators
Mark Messier Leadership Award 2007 Awarded to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season Mats Sundin
Toronto Maple Leafs

The league has also given some short-lived awards over the years, including the NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award Winner, to be awarded to the player who accrued the most road points during the regular season. It was awarded to Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche in 2004 and has not been awarded since.

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