The National Hockey League
playoffs are over and
members of the Tampa Bay Lightning
have skated around the ice
with the Stanley Cup.
Now, one of my favorite parts of the season begins -- the hockey awards.
You see, hockey awards have the
coolest names and histories.
Don't believe me?
Check out some of these.
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: This award is given to the NHL player who "exhibited the best kind of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
Lady Byng? She sounds more like a white-gloved hostess at a fancy tea party than an award in a rough-and-tumble sport such as professional hockey. Actually, Lady Byng was the wife of the governor general of Canada in 1925, the first year of the award.
Over the years, great players such as Wayne Gretzky, Paul Kariya and Brett Hull have won the Lady Byng award, proving that you can be a good sport and a good hockey player.
The Calder Memorial Trophy: The best rookie in the NHL receives this trophy. Frank Calder, president of the NHL in the 1930s and '40s, bought a trophy every year for the league's best rookie. After Calder died in 1943, the league got a new, permanent trophy and named it after the generous man.
Vezina Trophy: This award is given to the goalie whom NHL general managers choose as the best goaltender. Until 1982, the award was given to the goalies whose team gave up the fewest goals during the regular season.
The trophy originally was presented to the NHL by the owners of the Montreal Canadiens in memory of Georges Vezina. He was a terrific goaltender who collapsed during a game on Nov. 28, 1925. He died of tuberculosis (a lung disease) four months later.
A couple of Washington Capitals have won this award: Olaf "Olie the Goalie" Kolzig in 2000 and Jim Carey in 1996.
Hobey Baker Memorial Award: Even awards for college hockey are cool. The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is given to the top college hockey player in the United States. But the player who gets the award has to be more than just a terrific hockey player. He also has to be a good sport, a good person and a good student.
The real Hobey Baker was all those things. He was a captain of the Princeton football and hockey teams who, according to some, never fouled. Baker served in a flying unit in World War I and was killed in an air accident in December 1918.
So you see, even the biggest football, baseball or hoops fan would have to admit, hockey has the best awards.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports column and is the author of sports novels for kids.