Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Lady Byng
Lady Byng, née Marie Evelyn Moreton. Painting by Philip de László

History of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

The trophy was donated in 1925 by Lady Evelyn Byng, wife of Governor General Byng. Both she and her husband loved sports and became hockey fans after moving to Ottawa, where they attended Senators games. She therefore decided to donate a trophy that would promote sportsmanship and gentlemanly play, qualities she greatly admired.

In March 1925, Lady Byng wrote to Frank Calder, president of the NHL, offering to present an annual “challenge cup” for the “cleanest and most effective player in the league.” It was only the second individual award in the league, after the Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player (first awarded in 1924).

“Lady Byng Gives Cup to Elevate the Game In the Pro. League”

Desiring to raise the standard of professional hockey, Lady Byng of Vimy proposes to present a challenge cup to be held each year by the cleanest and most effective player in the league.

In a letter to Frank Calder the wife of the Governor-General says:

“Feeling a great desire to help your effort to ‘clean hockey’ and eliminate the needless rough play that at present is a threat to the game, and also to leave a tangible record of the enjoyment I personally have had from the game during our sojourn in Canada, I am writing to ask if you will let me offer a challenge cup for the man on any team in the league who, while being thoroughly effective, is also a thoroughly clean player.

“I am convinced that the public desires good sport, not the injuring of players, and if by donating this challenge cup I can in any way help towards this end it will give me a great deal of pleasure.

“(Signed) Evelyn Byng of Vimy.”

It is understood that the cup will be for annual competition among the players. The same jury of sports editors which selects the winner of the Hart Trophy will decide which player deserves the cup.

(The Globe, 9 March 1925)


Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators won the trophy in both 1925 and 1926, while Billy Burch of the New York Americans received it in 1927. The following year, Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won his first Lady Byng Trophy. In 1935, after Boucher had won the trophy seven times, he was given it to keep, and Lady Byng donated another trophy to the league. According to an article in The Globe that year, Boucher “announced he will not allow himself to be considered eligible for the trophy in the future, so that others may have a chance at the award.” (The original trophy was destroyed in a fire at Boucher’s home in 1962.) After Lady Byng died in 1949, the NHL presented a new trophy and renamed it the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

Wayne Gretzky has won the trophy five times, second only to Boucher. Red Kelly and Pavel Datsyuk won four times each, followed by three-time winners Bobby Bauer, Alex Delvecchio, Mike Bossy and Ron Francis.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy Winners

Year Player Team
1925 Frank Nighbor Ottawa Senators
1926 Frank Nighbor Ottawa Senators
1927 Harry Wilfred “Billy” Burch New York Americans
1928 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1929 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1930 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1931 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1932 Joe Primeau Toronto Maple Leafs
1933 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1934 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1935 Frank Boucher New York Rangers
1936 Elwin Nelson “Doc” Romnes Chicago Black Hawks
1937 Marty Barry Detroit Red Wings
1938 Gordie Drillon Toronto Maple Leafs
1939 Clint Smith New York Rangers
1940 Bobby Bauer Boston Bruins
1941 Bobby Bauer Boston Bruins
1942 Syl Apps Toronto Maple Leafs
1943 Max Bentley Chicago Black Hawks
1944 Clint Smith Chicago Black Hawks
1945 Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks
1946 Joseph Hector “Toe” Blake Montreal Canadiens
1947 Bobby Bauer Boston Bruins
1948 Herbert William “Buddy” O’Connor New York Rangers
1949 Hubert George “Bill” Quackenbush Detroit Red Wings
1950 Edgar Laprade New York Rangers
1951 Leonard Patrick “Red” Kelly Detroit Red Wings
1952 Sid Smith Toronto Maple Leafs
1953 Leonard Patrick “Red” Kelly Detroit Red Wings
1954 Leonard Patrick “Red” Kelly Detroit Red Wings
1955 Sidney James “Sid” Smith Toronto Maple Leafs
1956 Earl “Dutch” Reibel Detroit Red Wings
1957 Andy Hebenton New York Rangers
1958 Camille Henry New York Rangers
1959 Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings
1960 Don McKenney Boston Bruins
1961 Leonard Patrick “Red” Kelly Toronto Maple Leafs
1962 Dave Keon Toronto Maple Leafs
1963 Dave Keon Toronto Maple Leafs
1964 Ken Wharram Chicago Black Hawks
1965 Bobby Hull Chicago Black Hawks
1966 Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings
1967 Stan Mikita Chicago Black Hawks
1968 Stan Mikita Chicago Black Hawks
1969 Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings
1970 Phil Goyette St. Louis Blues
1971 John Bucyk Boston Bruins
1972 Jean Ratelle New York Rangers
1973 Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres
1974 John Bucyk Boston Bruins
1975 Marcel Dionne Detroit Red Wings
1976 Jean Ratelle New York Rangers/Boston Bruins
1977 Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings
1978 Robert Thomas “Butch” Goring Los Angeles Kings
1979 Bob MacMillan Atlanta Flames
1980 Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers
1981 Rick Kehoe Pittsburgh Penguins
1982 Rick Middleton Boston Bruins
1983 Mike Bossy New York Islanders
1984 Mike Bossy New York Islanders
1985 Jari Kurri Edmonton Oilers
1986 Mike Bossy New York Islanders
1987 Joe Mullen Calgary Flames
1988 Mats Naslund Montreal Canadiens
1989 Joe Mullen Calgary Flames
1990 Brett Hull St. Louis Blues
1991 Wayne Gretzky Los Angeles Kings
1992 Wayne Gretzky Los Angeles Kings
1993 Pierre Turgeon New York Islanders
1994 Wayne Gretzky Los Angeles Kings
1995 Ron Francis Pittsburgh Penguins
1996 Paul Kariya Anaheim Mighty Ducks
1997 Paul Kariya Anaheim Mighty Ducks
1998 Ron Francis Pittsburgh Penguins
1999 Wayne Gretzky New York Rangers
2000 Pavol Demitra St. Louis Blues
2001 Joe Sakic Colorado Avalanche
2002 Ron Francis Carolina Hurricanes
2003 Alexander Mogilny Toronto Maple Leafs
2004 Brad Richards Tampa Bay Lightning
2005 Season cancelled due to lockout
2006 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
2007 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
2008 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
2009 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
2010 Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
2011 Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
2012 Brian Campbell Florida Panthers
2013 Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
2014 Ryan O’Reilly Colorado Avalanche
2015 Jiri Hudler Calgary Flames
2016 Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
2017 Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames
2018 William Karlsson Vegas Golden Knights

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