Rename the Hart Trophy the Gordie Howe Memorial Trophy-it's time, NHL
99% of all hockey fans have never heard of the late Cecil Hart or know when he was involved in the NHL. I'm going to surmise we can up that percentage to 99.9% for those who have heard of his father, Dr. David Hart, the man responsible for the inception of the Hart Trophy. In fact initially the Hart Trophy was called the Dr. David Hart Trophy.
The date the suggestion for the trophy was accepted was February 9, 1924 during the same owners meeting that saw the acceptance of the application from the Boston Bruins for their NHL franchise. They would debut in the fall, the Dr. David Hart Trophy at the conclusion of the season. The first winner was Frank Nighbor, AKA the Pembroke Peach, a multiple Stanley Cup winner with the Ottawa Senators and more commonly known as the player who first perfected the poke check.
For the next 36 years the player deemed to be 'the most useful to his team' was awarded the Dr. David Hart Trophy. In the owners general meeting in 1960 the original trophy was retired and the Hart Memorial Trophy was commissioned now in memory of Dr. Hart's son, the late Cecil Hart who had coached the Montreal Canadiens to back-to-back Cups in 1930 and 1931 and is generally regarded as the forefather of the minor hockey system in Montreal which he initiated in 1910. Cecil Hart passed away in 1940 after a lengthy illness.
None of these following comments are meant to disparage Dr. David Hart's imitative or the contribution of his son to the NHL specifically the Montreal Canadiens but it's time to retire the Hart Memorial Trophy to the Hall of Fame permanently and institute in it's place the Gordie Howe Memorial Trophy.
The precedent for this you ask? Easy; if the NHL can remove a former Prime Minister of Canada's name from a trophy and rename it in honour of a man whose legacy in the game is historical, no question, with his involvement in the beginning of the players union, then certainly at this point for a global hockey legend with immeasurable impact for decades on and off the ice, the NHL can do the same thing. I refer of course to the renaming of the Lester B. Pearson Award to the Ted Lindsay award which as you know is the trophy voted on by the players judging who they think is the league's MVP. There is no question, none, that the Hart Trophy needs to under go the same change.
Do the right thing!!! For once wouldn't it be great to see the powers-that-be in the NHL take the initiative and do the right thing!! Ten years ago the NHLFA ( Fans association ) led a petition with commentary supplied by Mark and Marty Howe that the NHL should consider this change. The league couldn't say no quick enough, seemingly. Let's see a groundswell movement to make this happen. Wouldn't it be fantastic to see this happen for the NHL awards in a couple of weeks. Rest in peace Mr. Hockey, your legacy is intact regardless; this move would add a dimension to your long standing measure of greatness as a player and it would be brought back every single season in perpetuity as each years winner was announced which is how(e) it should be.