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Wednesday December 9, 2009 2:43 pm

NHL considering renaming trophies?




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Editorial, Front Office, NHL, Rumors,

Lady Byng Memorial TrophyThe National Hockey League has recently been reported as considering renaming some of their award trophies. While the Stanley Cup is not in jeopardy, others are being considered due to the fact that many casual fans do not know the history behind the trophies or their namesakes. The original trophies and proposed renaming is as follows: The Hart (most valuable player) for Gordie Howe, the Art Ross (most points) for Wayne Gretzky, Calder (top rookie) for Mario Lemieux, James Norris (top defenceman) for Bobby Orr, Lady Byng (most gentlemanly player) for Jean Beliveau, and the Jack Adams (coach of the year) for Scotty Bowman. The reaction to the announcement has been great, and most of it is directed at NHL commissioner of 17 years, Gary Bettman.

The fans’ outcry at this has been widespread since the announcement. There seems to be an overwhelmingly negative reaction from most, with “you don’t mess with history” being the common denominator. Fans have sarcastically come up with the “why stop there” theory, suggesting anything from trophies be renamed anytime a player outperforms the trophies’ namesake (which could possibly see a trophy renamed after every season) to “selling” trophies to companies and award players with the McDonald’s Trophy or the Microsoft Trophy.

Of course the NHL does not intend to take things that far, but that’s the kind of reaction they should expect from fans as upset with the league as they are now. This could just be the NHL’s poorly calculated attempt at winning back the fans after the Phoenix fiasco and Bettman’s poor public image, or maybe they’re seriously considering honoring the players of the past while shunning those who helped build the league. Either way, the announcement earlier this week has been met with venom.

What kind of legacy is Bettman trying to forge for himself? He’s already despised by many, from fans to the media to the Players’ Association. Some have cleverly suggested “renaming” the commissioner before renaming the trophies. This idea needs to be put to rest quickly. A better idea to renaming the trophies would be to “retire” them, allowing them to retain their proper place in history like they deserve. This could be done during the NHL’s centennial next decade, but with the NHL’s seeming inability to do anything correctly, don’t bet on it.

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