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James Norris Memorial Trophy

The James Norris Memorial Trophy, or simply the Norris Trophy, is awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s top “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”. It is named after James E. Norris, the longtime owner of the Detroit Red Wings. The James Norris Memorial Trophy has been awarded 62 times to 27 players since its beginnings in 1953–54. At the end of each season, members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote to determine the player who was the best defenseman during the regular season.

There are arguments that the award should be split into offensive and defensive awards with a new trophy, perhaps the Bobby Orr Trophy, given to the top offensive defenceman.

Mark Giordano Norris Trophy
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano with the Norris Trophy (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Locher)

Who Has Won the Most Norris Trophies?

Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr has won the most Norris Trophies with eight selections. Many think that Orr easily blows away the competition with Norris wins, but both Niklas Lidstrom and Doug Harvey have won the award seven times.

How is the Winner Chosen for the Norris Trophy?

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote at the end of the regular season, and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10–7–5–3–1 point(s) system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL awards ceremony after the conclusion of the playoffs.

Harry Howell’s Called Shot

Howell won the trophy in 1966-67 and during his acceptance speech made a prescient remark.

“I’m glad I won the [Norris Trophy] now, because I expect it’s going to belong to Bobby Orr from now on.”

Harry Howell
Harry Howell, Alex Delvecchio
Rangers Harry Howell vs Red Wings Alex Delvecchio

Deeper Dive

Oldest & Youngest Norris Winners

Youngest to win the award: 19-years old, Bobby Orr – 1967-68

Oldest to win the award: 40-years old, Nicklas Lidstrom – 2010-11

Average age: 28.3years old

…from NHL Awards Oldest & Youngest

Bobby Orr, Montreal Forum
(Dick Raphael-US PRESSWIRE)

Norris Memorial Trophy Winners

SeasonWinnerTeamWin #
1953–54Red KellyDetroit Red Wings1
1954–55Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens1
1955–56Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens2
1956–57Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens3
1957–58Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens4
1958–59Tom JohnsonMontreal Canadiens1
1959–60Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens5
1960–61Doug HarveyMontreal Canadiens6
1961–62Doug HarveyNew York Rangers7
1962–63Pierre PiloteChicago Black Hawks1
1963–64Pierre PiloteChicago Black Hawks2
1964–65Pierre PiloteChicago Black Hawks3
1965–66Jacques LaperriereMontreal Canadiens1
1966–67Harry HowellNew York Rangers1
1967–68Bobby OrrBoston Bruins1
1968–69Bobby OrrBoston Bruins2
1969–70Bobby OrrBoston Bruins3
1970–71Bobby OrrBoston Bruins4
1971–72Bobby OrrBoston Bruins5
1972–73Bobby OrrBoston Bruins6
1973–74Bobby OrrBoston Bruins7
1974–75Bobby OrrBoston Bruins8
1975–76Denis PotvinNew York Islanders1
1976–77Larry RobinsonMontreal Canadiens1
1977–78Denis PotvinNew York Islanders2
1978–79Denis PotvinNew York Islanders3
1979–80Larry RobinsonMontreal Canadiens2
1980–81Randy CarlylePittsburgh Penguins1
1981–82Doug WilsonChicago Black Hawks1
1982–83Rod LangwayWashington Capitals1
1983–84Rod LangwayWashington Capitals2
1984–85Paul CoffeyEdmonton Oilers1
1985–86Paul CoffeyEdmonton Oilers2
1986–87Ray BourqueBoston Bruins1
1987–88Ray BourqueBoston Bruins2
1988–89Chris CheliosMontreal Canadiens1
1989–90Ray BourqueBoston Bruins3
1990–91Ray BourqueBoston Bruins4
1991–92Brian LeetchNew York Rangers1
1992–93Chris CheliosChicago Blackhawks2
1993–94Ray BourqueBoston Bruins5
1994–95Paul CoffeyDetroit Red Wings3
1995–96Chris CheliosChicago Blackhawks3
1996–97Brian LeetchNew York Rangers2
1997–98Rob BlakeLos Angeles Kings1
1998–99Al MacInnisSt. Louis Blues1
1999–2000Chris ProngerSt. Louis Blues1
2000–01Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings1
2001–02Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings2
2002–03Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings3
2003–04Scott NiedermayerNew Jersey Devils1
2004–052004–05 NHL lockout – No winner
2005–06Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings4
2006–07Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings5
2007–08Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings6
2008–09Zdeno CharaBoston Bruins1
2009–10Duncan KeithChicago Blackhawks1
2010–11Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings7
2011–12Erik KarlssonOttawa Senators1
2012–13P. K. SubbanMontreal Canadiens1
2013–14Duncan KeithChicago Blackhawks2
2014–15Erik KarlssonOttawa Senators2
2015–16Drew DoughtyLos Angeles Kings1
2016–17Brent BurnsSan Jose Sharks1
2017–18Victor HedmanTampa Bay Lightning1
2018–19Mark GiordanoCalgary Flames1
2019–20Roman JosiNashville Predators1
2020–21Adam FoxNew York Rangers1
2021–22Cale MakarColorado Avalanche1
2022-23Erik KarlssonSan Jose Sharks3