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Who is Lady Byng? And for that matter who is Lord Stanley?

Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

“Who is Lady Byng?”

And, in reply, who the hell is Lord Stanley? If sports is all about nostalgia, and I would submit that the love of a sport is all about nostalgia, then why is the National Hockey League entertaining the idea of renaming its awards for a new generation. Here it is from Canadian Broadcasting Co hockey analyst Glenn Healy last night on the Hot Stove:

It's about time the NHL made further changes to pay tribute to those who made history on the ice, rather than in the boardrooms, Healy said.

"The award for best defenceman is currently named after a [former Detroit Red Wings] owner. Give me a break," he said. [Note: The rest of the world spells its with a C, not an S. Get a grip word nazis.]

Most people don't even know who Lady Byng (the wife of Gov. Gen. Viscount Byng of Vimy) was, he added. [Note: Actually, Healy used the opening quote.]

That the NHL would decide that the Stanley Cup was not going to be renamed, but that it would destroy it's investment in other trophies speaks volumes.

"This is about the history of the game," HNIC analyst Mike Milbury said. "I know the players are a big part of it, but there are some other people in the business that had something to do with it. The names are good, they run with history. Leave it alone."

It wouldn't be the first time a big name trophy was renamed in Canada. The former Memorial Cup is now known as the MasterCard Memorial Cup. MASTERCARD? I may have to add that to the first reference, but that isn't how normal people talk about what some call the most difficult trophy to win in sports. MasterCard is the junk mail I receive, enticing me to easy credit, at high interest rates, not the cup won in a match that has united a country.

Here we go again in the NHL. It is a place where the dubious qualities of the shootout were embraced to get those Southern retirees, they still love their hockey ya' know, to go to games and to hell with the people of Winnipeg, London and Hamilton who love their game more. Let's rewind and remember how the league abandoned the division names in the early 1990's. Norris, Patrick, Adams, Smythe: much easier for the know-nothings of the South who don't attend games in any case, to have descriptive names like Central, Northwest, Pacific, Atlantic, Northeast and Sux.

"I hate it, too," HNIC host Ron MacLean added.

Yeah that. Deep six this idea.

For the record, the list of awards under consideration and the new names floated by Healy:

  • Hart (most valuable player) — Gordie Howe.

  • Art Ross (most points) — Wayne Gretzky.

  • Calder (top rookie) — Mario Lemieux.

  • James Norris (top defenceman) — Bobby Orr.

  • Lady Byng (most gentlemanly player) — Jean Beliveau.

  • Jack Adams (coach of the year) — Scotty Bowman.

Major NHL awards and their histories (courtesy of the NHL Official Guide & Record Book, 2009-10)

  1. Stanley Cup (Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup). Donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor General of Canada. Awarded to the Champion of the NHL. Each players name is engraved on the base.

  2. Prince of Whales Trophy. Donated by the Prince of Wales. Awarded to the champion of the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs.

  3. Clarence S Campbell Bowl. Donated by member clubs. Awarded to the champion of the NHL Western Conference playoffs.

  4. Hart Memorial Trophy. Based on a donation by Dr. David A Hart, father of Cecil Hart, manager/ coach of the Montreal Canadiens. Awarded to the NHL MVP as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  5. Art Ross Trophy. Donated by Arthur Howey Ross, former manager/ coach of the Boston Bruins. Awarded to the player who leads the league in scoring at the end of the regular season.

  6. Calder Memorial Trophy. Established by Frank Calder, former NHL President. Awarded to the rookie of the year as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  7. James Norris Memorial Trophy. Donated by the children of the late James Norris, president and owner of the Detroit Red Wings. Awarded to the leading defenseman as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  8. Vezina Trophy. Donated by former owners of the Montreal Canadiens to memorialize Georges Vezina. Vezina collapsed during a game in 1925, dying of tuberculosis shortly after. Awarded to the leading goaltender as selected by the league general managers.

  9. Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Donated by the wife of the Governor- General of Canada. Awarded to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  10. Frank J Selke Trophy. Donated by the NHL Board of Governors. Awarded to the forward who excels in the defensive aspects of the game as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  11. William M Jennings Trophy. Donated by the NHL Board of Governors. Awarded to goal tenders who have played a minimum of 25 games and had the least number of goals scored against.

  12. Conn Smythe Trophy. Awarded by Maple Leaf Gardens. Awarded to the playoff MVP as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

  13. Jack Adams Award. Awarded by the NHL Broadcasters Assoc. Awarded to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success as selected by the NHL Broadcasters Assoc.

  14. Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy. Awarded by the NHL Writers' Association. Awarded to the player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

  15. Lester Patrick Trophy. Awarded by the New York Rangers. Awarded for outstanding service to hockey. This trophy is awarded to coaches, players, officials, executives and referees as selected by a rotating committee consisting of members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, NHL Broadcasters Assoc., New York Rangers, Hockey Hall of Fame players section, US Hockey Hall of Fame builders section, the NHL governors and the NHL Commissioner.

  16. King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Awarded by the NHL Board of Governors. Awarded to the player who exemplifies leadership qualities and has made a noteworthy contribution to his community.

  17. Presidents' Trophy. Awarded by the NHL to the team with the best regular season record.

  18. Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Donated by the Montreal Canadiens. Awarded to the leading regular season scorer.

  19. Lester B Pearson Award. Presented by the NHLPA to the most outstanding player as selected by NHLPA members.

  20. NHL Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented to the individual whose long-term contributions to hockey have been representative of all that is outstanding about the NHL both on and off the ice.

  21. Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. Presented by Bridgestone. The selection is made by Messier himself based on nominations for great leadership qualities to his team on and off the ice.

  22. NHL Foundation Player Award. Finalists are selected by a judging panel for applying the core values of hockey: commitment, perseverance and teamwork, to enrich the lives of people in their community.

  23. ScotiaBank/ NHL Fan Fav Award. Awarded to the player selected by fans to be the best overall performer.



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1 Comment

Jane Rickard said:


Niet, nien,no way, to change the name on the trophies is wrong on all levels. Those names on the trophy are just as important as those on the bottom, they are part of the history, tradition and our culture. One does not bow down to Madison Ave or Young Street and shed a years of tradition on a whim. Or at least those of us who have grown up with frozen toes from lowly pond hockey and a love of the game would not surrender such a tradition happily as the "professionals" are suggesting.

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