Vezina Trophy
1927-1945 winners
1946-1981 winners
1982-present winners

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
2008-9 and 2010-11 Vezina Trophy winner

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Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's goaltender who is "adjudged to be the best at this position". At the end of each season, the 30 General Managers of the teams in the National Hockey League vote to determine the goaltender who was the most valuable to his team during the regular season.

The Vezina Trophy was named in honor of Georges Vιzina, an exceptional goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens from 1910 until 1925. Vezina collapsed during a game in 1925 and was diagnosed as having tuberculosis, of which he died in 1926. Upon Vezina's death, the trophy was donated to the League by the Canadiens' owners, Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich to honour Vezina permanently. It was first awarded at the end of the 1926–27 NHL season to George Hainsworth who was Vezina's immediate successor.

Donated in May 1927, the Trophy was initially to be awarded annually to the 'most valuable' goaltender in the league.

In 1946, the trophy was amended to go to the goaltender(s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season. This criteria was in place until the 1980–81 season. This system often meant the trophy went to the goaltender(s) of the better team rather than the individual, and the best goaltender would have been the player named to the NHL All-Star First Team, such as in the 1979-80 season when Don Edwards and Bob Sauve shared the Vezina while Tony Esposito was named to the First Team.

As a result, a change was made to offer the William M. Jennings Trophy to the goaltender(s) playing for the team with the fewest goals against. Starting with the 1981-82 season, the Vezina Trophy has been voted on by the general managers of the NHL teams to the most outstanding goaltender. Billy Smith of the New York Islanders was the first winner of the Vezina under the current system.

There have been numerous instances of players receiving the trophy many times in different years, and players tying for the trophy during the period that it was awarded for fewest goals allowed. Jacques Plante holds the record for winning the most Vezinas with seven, followed by Bill Durnan and Dominik Hasek both of whom have won six, and Hasek has won the award under the current system of voting for the best individual goalie. Players for the Montreal Canadiens have won the Vezina 28 times. Under the criteria from 1946 to 1981, there would often be multiple winners from the same team during one season. In the 1973–74 NHL season, Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks and Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers finished tied for the fewest goals against, the only time that there would be a tie between two players from different teams.[1] There are only three players that have won both the Vezina and Hart Memorial Trophy for the same season: Jacques Plante, who won both trophies for the 1961–62 season; Dominik Hasek who won both for the 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons; and Jose Theodore, who won the Vezina and Hart for the 2001–02 NHL season. Two other Vezina winning goaltenders have also won the Hart Memorial Trophy: Roy Worters and Al Rollins. Chuck Rayner was the only goaltender to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, but never the Vezina. Most Vezina winners, especially since 1981, have also been named to the NHL All-Star First Team the same season, with the exception of Theodore.

The voting is conducted at the end of the regular season by the 30 general managers of the teams in the National Hockey League, and each individual voter ranks their top three candidates on a 5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards ceremony after the playoffs.

Links:   James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs | Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings