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The Hart Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy winners have captured one of the NHL’s top individual honors — the NHL MVP award. Selected by polling the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association members in all NHL cities at the conclusion of the regular season, the Hart Trophy has been around since 1924.

Hart Memorial — History

What is the Hart Trophy? Where did it come from? This NHL MVP award is named for Dr. David Hart, a well-known Montreal physician. When he donated the trophy to the league, it became the first individual NHL award. His son, Cecil Hart, was a major figure in NHL hockey. He coached the Montreal Canadiens for nine years and captured two Stanley Cups, in 1931 and 1932.

Dr. Hart’s original cup, the first Hart Trophy, was moved to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960. The new Hart Trophy, introduced in the same year, was dedicated to the memory of Cecil Hart.

The first winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy: Frank Nighbor, center for the Ottawa Senators. Nighbor played in the NHL from 1912 to 1930. Not only was Nighbor a skilled defensive player and effective scorer, he conducted himself in exceedingly gentlemanly fashion — so much so that he inspired Lady Byng to create the Byng Trophy for sportsmanship in 1925. Nighbor has the unique distinction of being the first-time winner of two of the most renowned trophies in the NHL.

Hart Memorial Trophy Winners — Trivia

Being that this cup is the NHL MPV trophy, it’s probably not hard to guess who has won it the most times. Just in case you’re not sure, that distinction goes to Wayne Gretzky, who won the Hart Trophy an incredible nine times over the course of his 21-year career. Eight of those nine wins came in consecutive seasons, from 1980-81 through 1986-87. Mario Lemieux interrupted Gretzky’s streak in 1987-88, but then The Great One came back the following season to win it one more time.

Other multiple winners of the NHL MVP award:

  • 6 — Gordie Howe
  • 4 — Eddie Shore
  • 3 — Howie Morenz, Bobby Orr, Bobby Clark, Mario Lemieux and Alexander Ovechkin
  • 2 — Nels Stewart, Bill Cowley, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Phil Esposito, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier, Dominik Hasek and Sidney Crosby

Team-wise, the Montreal Canadiens have the most Hart Memorial Trophy winners, with a whopping 16. The next most successful team: Boston Bruins, with 12 Hart Trophy wins.

Goaltenders have not fared well as Hart Memorial Trophy winners. Only six of them have won this NHL MVP award — Roy Worters, Chuck Rayner, Al Rollins, Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek and Jose Theodore. Of course, goalies have their own NHL award — the Vezina Trophy — so we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them.

Hart Memorial Trophy Winners — The Complete List

  • 2018: Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
  • 2017: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  • 2016: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2015: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2014: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2013: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2012: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2011: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
  • 2010: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
  • 2009: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2008: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2007: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2006: Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins/San Jose Sharks
  • 2004: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2003: Peter Forsberg, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2002: Jose Theodore, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2001: Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2000: Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
  • 1999: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1998: Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1997: Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
  • 1996: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1995: Eric Lindros, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1994: Sergei Fedorov, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1993: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1992: Mark Messier, New York Rangers
  • 1991: Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues
  • 1990: Mark Messier, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1989: Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1988: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1987: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1986: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1985: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1984: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1983: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1982: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1981: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1980: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1979: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
  • 1978: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1977: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1976: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1975: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1974: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
  • 1973: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1972: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1971: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1970: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1969: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
  • 1968: Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1967: Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1966: Bobby Hull, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1965: Bobby Hull, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1964: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1963: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1962: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1961: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1960: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1959: Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers
  • 1958: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1957: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1956: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1955: Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1954: Al Rollins, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1953: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1952: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1951: Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins
  • 1950: Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers
  • 1949: Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1948: Buddy O'Connor, New York Rangers
  • 1947: Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1946: Max Bentley, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1945: Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1944: Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1943: Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
  • 1942: Tommy Anderson, Brooklyn Americans
  • 1941: Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
  • 1940: Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1939: Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1938: Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1937: Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1936: Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1935: Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1934: Aurele Joliat, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1933: Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
  • 1932: Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1931: Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1930: Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
  • 1929: Roy Worters, New York Americans
  • 1928: Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1927: Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1926: Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
  • 1925: Billy Burch, Hamilton Tigers
  • 1924: Frank Nighbor, Ottawa Senators