Before the start of the NHL championship 2018/2019, the most prestigious in the world championship among professional clubs is a little more than a month.

This year the tournament will be one hundred and second in League history. Traditionally the tournament will start in October 2018 and expire in April 2019.

And the eve of the start of the season wanted to tell you about one of the awards, which honors the best of the best. I propose to recall, how there is such a trophy as a Vezina Trophy.

Vezina Trophy on display in hall of fame NHL

Named this award the name of the famous hockey goalkeeper of his era, Georges Vezina . Let us remember how it was.

Joseph Georges Gonzague Vezina was born January 21, 1887 in a family of French emigrants. To 14 years Joseph was in the Seminary, where he met with hockey. The family of the Georges lived in Chicoutimi — North, province of Quebec. And because the club where Vezina started his career, was not in any of the official leagues.

17 Feb 1910, when George was 23 years, his team played with "Montreal Canadiens", who conducted a tour of Quebec, and played its first season in the NHA. In General the superiority was on the side of the guests'. The local team is much inferior in class, but standing at the gate of Georges Vezina was impenetrable. The team from Chicoutimi won, largely thanks to Le Vesinet. After the game George and his brother Pierre received an offer from the Montreal club. But George agreed not right away.

The fact that George was two years as a happily married and fully satisfied with the life he led. Yet in December, to his house came the representatives of "Montreal" and was not offered a contract for $ 800 per season. 31 Dec 1910 Georges debuted in the NHA as part of the "Montreal Canadiens".

Joseph Georges Gonzague Vezina

The beginning.From 1910 to 1914

In the playoffs the team to get failed, but Vezina has established itself as a serious player. The season he finished with the best indicator of the reflected shots in the entire NHA. And 1910 Montreal finished with a score of 10 losses 2 wins. Next season, thanks to Georges team conceded the least goals in a season (62). A year later, the Vezina was again the best number of goals against (66). In the season of 1911/1912, the team won 8 victories, 10 defeats and once again reached the playoffs.

George was immediately struck by all for its unique technique of owning a stick. A large part of the shots reflect it.

For two years Vezina from unknown guy has turned into one of the best goalkeepers of the League. And the 1913/1914 season was a breakthrough. Not only did the Canadiens win more matches than they lost (13 vs 7) for the first time in their history, they also climbed to first place in the NHA, splitting it with Toronto. According to the regulations, the teams played to determine who would go to the Stanley Cup final. The first meeting was a success. But in the second match, George conceded six goals, and Montreal went on vacation.

By this time the name of Georges Vezina was known to all hockey fans in North America. In the life of a quiet guy all my free time spent in Chicoutimi with the family. But on the ice it was a completely different person... It was his behavior that resulted in the admiration of both rivals and teammates. Because of his icy calmness to the Georges stuck the nickname «Chicoutimi Cucumber».

Seasons 1914/1915, 1915/1916

The team failed the following season. But Vezina managed to stay at his level and became the best goalkeeper in the League. "The Canadiens" lost 14 matches out of 20. But in the season 1915/1916 Montreal showed a real game. They won in the NHA in the Stanley Cup final, met with "Portland Rosebuds". In a heavy battle rivals lost to Canadiens. Having won two victories, the team moved the series to the fifth match. Vezina played so brilliantly, that no other outcome, except victory, be could not. 4 minutes before the end of the match, 25-year-old Montreal forward Goldie Prodger scored a goal. This time the Canadian club won the Stanley Cup for the first time.

The Stanley Cup

From 1916 to 1919

In the next two seasons, the Canadiens continued to show a decent game. Once they reached the semifinals and twice reached the Stanley Cup final. In the 1918/1919 season, the rules of hockey were amended, significantly affecting the development of the game. It was good for Montreal, where two of the League's top scorers and a top goalkeeper played. Canadiens played five games in the final series against Seattle Met. Both teams won two victories and one game ended in a draw. All this happened against the background of a terrible epidemic of "Spanish flu". Hockey players fought hard, but in the sixth match, players of "Montreal" simply couldn't continue the game, in connection with sharp deterioration of health. As a result, the 6th match was canceled and the Stanley Cup was left without an owner. This is the only case in the history of hockey.

Some personal records

In 1918 in one of the matches of the regular championship between "the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto arenas" him for the first time in the history of hockey managed to defend by zero in match (sat-out).

On December 28, 1918, Georges Vezina became the first goalkeeper to register an assist. Helped him Newsy Leland, who picked up the puck after Vezina repulsed the opponent's attack, and then scored a goal for Toronto. The game ended with a score of 6: 3 in favor of "Montreal". In the history of the NHL it happened for the first time.

From 1919 to 1922

The next three years  "Canadiens" could not get to the main match of the season. They were not allowed to do the same "Seattle". Vezina continued to show the game at the highest level.

Seasons 1923/1924, 1924/1925

The last two seasons in Georges Vezina's career were the best for him. In 1924, Montreal beat Seattle and Vancouver in the playoffs. Moreover, in the final Vezina once again managed to release a shat-out in the second game. Largely thanks to this game, "Canadiens" was able to win the final victory. It was the second Triumph of Georges and his team. The following season, George showed a unique result-1.81 goals per game. It was his 16th of the season. In the 1925 season, he was also named NHL's best goalkeeper.

Season 1925/1926

Before the season 1925/1926 Georges Vezina came as absolutely sick. However, he managed to hide it. Before the game he had a high temperature, which failed to bring down. It was a match with "Pittsburgh Pirates". In the first break of Georges beginning to vomit blood, but he came out to play. However, at some point it just fell over on the ice...

A medical examination revealed the presence of tuberculosis. The last time Georges Vezina appeared in the locker room "Canadiens" December 3, 1925. His last request was to pick up the sweater in which he went to the matches.

Georges Vezina returned to his native Chicoutimi to his wife and two sons. He died in the city hospital on the night of 27 March 1926 at the age of 39 years. In his last season, he only played a period.



In 1927, the anniversary of the death of Georges Veiny former owners "of the Montreal Canadiens" Leo Dandurand, Louis LeTourneau and Joe Cattarinich gave the Cup the National hockey League in memory of the outstanding goalkeeper of the club. So, we received an award, which is now awarded annually to the best goalkeeper. The first winner of the Vezina Trophy was George Hainsworth, the successor of Georges on the post of Keeper of the "Canadiens".

Vezina held the Championships of the NHA and NHL 328 matches. During his career he made 15 of shat-outs. Seven times in the NHA and nine times in the NHL he was named the best goalkeeper.

In his native town of Georges built the arena, which was named in his honor. It is located in the centre of Chicoutimi.

Our time

Note that in the night from 20 to 21 June 2018 in Las Vegas the ceremony of awarding the individual prizes of the National hockey League. "Vezina Trophy" went to Pekka Rinne from "Nashville".

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