|Hart Memorial Trophy|
|Given for||Most Valuable Player in regular season of the National Hockey League|
|Most recent||Connor McDavid|
The Hart Memorial Trophy, originally known as the Hart Trophy, is awarded annually to the "player judged most valuable to his team" in the National Hockey League (NHL). The original trophy was donated to the league in 1923 by David Hart, the father of Cecil Hart, the longtime head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. The Hart Trophy has been awarded 92 times to 56 different players since its beginnings in 1924. Each year, members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote to determine the player who was the most valuable to his team during the regular season.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is named in honour of Canadian Dr. David Hart. Dr. Hart, who donated the original trophy to the NHL, was the father of Cecil Hart, a former Coach and General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens. The trophy was first awarded at the conclusion of the 1923-24 NHL season to Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators. The original Hart Trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960, and the NHL began presenting a new trophy, which was dubbed the Hart Memorial Trophy in its place. With the exceptions of Tommy Anderson, Al Rollins, and José Theodore, every eligible player who won the Hart Trophy (and retired) has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Wayne Gretzky won the award a record nine times during his career, eight consecutively. He has been named MVP more times than any other player in the history of the other three North American major professional leagues (Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association, and National Football League). Barry Bonds is second, having won the MVP award seven times in the MLB. Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers teammate Mark Messier are the only players to win the Hart Trophy with more than one team.
Players from the Montreal Canadiens have won the award sixteen times; players from Boston Bruins are second with twelve winners, while the Edmonton Oilers have seen players win the award ten times. Joe Thornton became the only Hart Trophy winner to have switched clubs during his winning campaign during the 2005-06 season, having played for both the Bruins and San Jose Sharks that year. The defenseman with the most trophy victories is Eddie Shore, who has four. By contrast, it is rare for a goaltender to win the award, which has happened only eight times in its history by 7 different goaltenders; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek is the only two-time winner.
The voting is conducted at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 point(s) system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards ceremony after the playoffs. The closest the voting for the Hart Trophy has ever come was in the 2001-02 season, when Jose Theodore and Jarome Iginla tied in the total voting. The tiebreaker for choosing the Hart Trophy winner in such a case is number of first-place votes: Theodore claimed it, who had 86 first-place votes to Iginla's 82.
In 2008, the NHL's official online shop came under criticism after they placed a T-shirt advertising Alexander Ovechkin as the award winner on sale a week before the results were revealed. A spokesperson for the league said "in an effort to offer our fans the merchandise they want in a timely manner following an event such as the NHL Awards, our licensees prepare product for all possible outcomes. In this situation, the link for one of the possible products became live early through an error by our e-commerce provider." Ovechkin was later confirmed to be the winner.