Pittsburgh Sports: Honors And Awards Aplenty

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Jan 18, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the Mario Lemieux statue and the exterior of the CONSOL Energy Center before the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Back At Our Heroes On Ice And The College Gridiron

In the National Hockey League, over half of the teams qualify for the post-season. 16 of 30 to be exact. Many deem that ridiculous but more dizzying might be the amount of awards handed out each year.

Not counting the Stanley Cup, there are 15 awards presented to players which does not include an additional four no longer handed out (NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award, Bud Light Plus-Minus Award, Lester B. Pearson Trophy, Roger Crozier MBNA Saving Grace Award).

Active awards in the NHL are:

  • James Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)
  • Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)
  • William M. Jennings Trophy (Best Goaltender)
  • Roger Crozier MBNA Saving Grace Award (Best Goaltender)
  • Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year)
  • King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Community Service Award)
  • Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (Leading Goal Scorer)
  • Art Ross Trophy (Leading Scorer)
  • Lester B. Pearson Trophy (Miscellaneous)
  • Frank J. Selke Trophy (Miscellaneous)
  • Bud Light Plus-Minus Award (Miscellaneous)
  • NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award (Miscellaneous)
  • Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (Miscellaneous)
  • Ted Lindsay Award (Miscellaneous)
  • Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Most Gentlemanly Player)
  • Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP)
  • Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
  • Bill Masterton Trophy (Sportsmanship/perseverance)

For the Pittsburgh Penguins, thanks primarily to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr, and the great Mario Lemieux, those quad of players have won the majority of awards brought home by the men on ice. “Sid the Kid” has won two Hart Memorial Trophies; three Ted Lindsay’s; two Art Ross trophies; the Maurice Richard hardware; and the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

For sure Sidney Crosby is one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the Penguins, but he may not have surpassed the legend of Mario Lemieux quite yet. Aside from the Stanley Cups (which Crosby also has won), Lemieux has 12 trophies gracing his living room. They are the Hart Memorial, Calder Memorial, Ted Lindsay, Art Ross, and Con Smythe. The current owner of the Penguins Lemieux won the Art Ross Trophy four times. He also took home three Ted Lindsays.

As for Sidney Crosby’s star teammate Evgeni Malkin, in 2012 he was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy. Malkin has also won the Calder Memorial, Ted Lindsay, Art Ross, and the Con Smythe trophy. Former Penguin Ron Francis twice won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Only one player who played in the “Igloo” won the James Norris Memorial Trophy and that was Randy Carlyle in 1981. Lowell Macdonald joined only Lemieux in winning the Bill Masterton Trophy taking home his version in 1973.

The Coach of the Year in the National Hockey League receives the Jack Adams Award and only Dan Bylsma has won it for Pittsburgh that coming in 2011. The other multiple winner of awards, Jaromir Jagr has won the Hart Memorial, Ted Lindsay, and the Art Ross trophies. For Ron Francis, he did not just win the Lady Byng but also the Frank J. Selke Trophy becoming Pittsburgh’s only winner of that honor in 1995.

What would a story about professional sports award winners in Pittsburgh be without mentioning as well the major university in town, the Panthers from the University of Pittsburgh. Focusing on NCAA football, the Panthers won a national championship in 1976, 1937, 1916, and shared the title in 1910 with Harvard.

On the field, what a year Aaron Donald had in 2013. Now a member of the St. Louis Rams, the University of Pittsburgh alumni had a solid rookie season last year. Playing all 16 games, Donald registered nine sacks with 37 tackles and 10 assists.

The defensive end also forced two fumbles and defended a pass. Wearing jersey number 99, Donald finished his career at Pitt by winning the Chuck Bednarik AwardBronko Nagurski AwardOutland Trophy, and the Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award.

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A fitting finale for the College Football Playoffs. What did they do?
A fitting finale for the College Football Playoffs. What did they do? /

With the First Pick

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  • No other Panther player in history won that many awards in one year but Tony Dorsett is the only player in history to win the most coveted award in college football, The Heisman Trophy. That same year (1976) when Pitt won their last national championship, Dorsett also won the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award.

    Mark May, a great offensive lineman also won the Outland Trophy in 1980. Hugh Green, an outstanding linebacker who would go on to star with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL, was the recipient of the Vince Lombardi Award the same year May won his trophy.

    Green also took the Walter Camp Award as did Larry Fitzgerald 23 years later. To become the best wide receiver in college football for a single season means winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award. Two University of Pittsburgh players have been so honored. Larry Fitzgerald in 2003 and Antonio Bryant three years prior.

    Count up the number of trophies in Pittsburgh sports and they are many. Count up the league titles and you have 18 (Steelers-6, Pirates-5, Penguins-3, Panthers-4).

    Of course women’s professional football, arena football, World Team Tennis, and for those of you who are fans, professional wrestling have not been profiled. Add those in and the hardware mountain would rise. Naturally, the possibility of future awards is a no-brainer.

    Next: Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs Flex NL Central Muscles

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