The Only 3 To Win Both The Kaminsky and Norris Trophies
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The Only 3 To Win Both The Kaminsky and Norris Trophies

The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded to the Ontario Hockey League's top defenseman and the Norris Trophy goes to the National Hockey League's top D-man. Only three players have won both of these awards.

The Max Kaminsky Trophy is handed out to the top defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League each season. The Norris Trophy accomplishes the same thing only in the National Hockey League. Since 1969-70, when the first Kaminsky Trophy was awarded to the OHL’s top blueliner, only three players have gone on to win the Norris Trophy.

With the OHL being one of the top feeder leagues to the NHL, it would seem logical that the best of the OHL would become the best of the NHL. Despite many great defensemen moving up the ranks from league to league, it simply doesn’t happen very often.

The first player to win both the Kaminsky and Norris was Denis Potvin. Potvin, a Hockey Hall of Fame member, won the Kaminsky Trophy with the Ottawa 67’s in 1971-72 and 1972-73. Three years later, Denis won his first of three Norris Trophies with the New York Islanders. He would win two more in 1977-78 and 1978-79. Potvin is one of only two players to win the Kaminsky on more than one occasion. Bryan Berard won the award in 1994-95 and 1995-96 with Detroit.

In 1982-83, Al MacInnis won the Kaminsky Trophy while playing for the Kitchener Rangers. MacInnis scored 38 goals and added 46 assists for 84 points in only 51 games while also playing fourteen games for the NHL’s Calgary Flames. In 1998-99, Al took home the Norris while playing for the St. Louis Blues. His 20 goals and 62 points were by far not his best offensive output but the Norris is about defence, not offence. Like Denis Potvin, Al MacInnis is also an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

One year after Al MacInnis winning the Norris, teammate Chris Pronger took home the award. Pronger matched Al’s point performance from the year before as St. Louis had the stingiest defence in the league, allowing only 165 goals and finished first atop the Western Conference standings. Pronger won the Kaminsky with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in 1992-93. That year, Pronger produced at over a point per game during the regular season but really shone in the playoffs. Chris contributed 40 points in 21 games as the Petes won the Robertson Cup as the OHL’s playoff champion.

Can we expect to see a fourth player in the near future? It’s possible. There are only a handful of Kaminsky winners in the NHL at the moment. Currently, Drew Doughty and Marc Staal are the best available. Next season should mark the arrival of Ryan Ellis into the NHL. The 2008-09 Kaminsky Trophy winner is a strong leader and an extremely smart defenseman. The Nashville Predators certainly have something to look forward to in Ellis.

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Comments (1)

Another milestone in Canadian Hockey history remembered, Tom. Excellent work.