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The James Norris Memorial Trophy

Who is the best hockey defenseman? The NHL answers this question with the James Norris Trophy, which is awarded every year to the league’s top all-around defenseman. The selection is made by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association who live in cities with NHL teams. The selection is made at the conclusion of the regular season.

History of the NHL Norris Trophy

First awarded at the end of the 1953-54 season, the James Norris Memorial Trophy is named for James E. Norris, a prominent executive in the NHL who passed away in 1952.

Norris was born in Montreal to a wealthy family. After moving to Chicago to manage his family’s immense grain business, he began acquiring financial interests in a variety of hockey teams and sports facilities. In 1932, he acquired a hockey team from the NHL known as the Falcons, which he renamed … the Detroit Red Wings. Under his ownership (1932-1952), the Red Wings won five Stanley Cups.

James Norris Memorial Trophy — Trivia

  • James Norris designed the famous Red Wings logo. Its winged wheel was a nod to Detroit’s automobile industry.
  • Eight-time James Norris Trophy winner: Bobby Orr.
  • Orr won his Norris Trophies in eight consecutive years.
  • Brad Park, perhaps the second best hockey defenseman of his era, never won the James Morris Memorial Trophy because he had the misfortune of playing at the same time as the incomparable Orr.
  • Seven-time winners: Doug Harvey, Nicklas Lidstrom.
  • Five-time winner: Ray Bourque.
  • The first NHL Norris Trophy winner was Hall of Famer Ned Kelly. He won while playing for the Red Wings, and later played for the Toronto Maple Leafs — and served as a Member of Parliament while he was playing.

James Morris Memorial Trophy — Complete List of Winners

  • 2018 Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2017 Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
  • 2016 Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
  • 2015 Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
  • 2014 Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2013 P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
  • 2012 Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
  • 2011 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2010 Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2009 Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
  • 2008 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2007 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2006 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2004 Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
  • 2003 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2002 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2001 Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2000 Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
  • 1999 Al MacInnis, St. Louis Blues
  • 1998 Rob Blake, Los Angeles Kings
  • 1997 Brian Leetch, New York Rangers
  • 1996 Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1995 Paul Coffey, Detroit Red Wings
  • 1994 Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • 1993 Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 1992 Brian Leetch, New York Rangers
  • 1991 Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • 1990 Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • 1989 Chris Chelios, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1988 Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • 1987 Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • 1986 Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1985 Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
  • 1984 Rod Langway, Washington Capitals
  • 1983 Rod Langway, Washington Capitals
  • 1982 Doug Wilson, Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1981 Randy Carlyle, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1980 Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1979 Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
  • 1978 Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
  • 1977 Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1976 Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
  • 1975 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1974 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1973 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1972 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1971 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1970 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1969 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1968 Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
  • 1967 Harry Howell, New York Rangers
  • 1966 Jacques Laperriere, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1965 Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1964 Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1963 Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1962 Doug Harvey, New York Rangers
  • 1961 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1960 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1959 Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1958 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1957 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1956 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1955 Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
  • 1954 Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings