The NHL, as a sports league, has several trophies and awards it gives for good conduct and performance. In previous articles, we have talked about some trophies such as the Ted Lindsay, Conn Smythe, and Norris Trophy, among many others.
In this article, we will be looking at a trophy that is given specifically to general managers in the NHL for their role in uplighting a team. The name of this trophy is the Jim Gregory General Manager Award.
To open up this topic, let’s start with a quick look at the history of this trophy.
History Of The Jim Gregory General Manager Award
The Jim Gregory General Manager Award has a short history. This is due to the short history (date) of the award from the occasion when it was first given.
During the 2009–10 NHL season, the General Manager of the Year award was first given out. The Jim Gregory General Manager Award was not yet given at this time. This award’s first presentation was held separately from the official NHL awards ceremony following the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The NHL General Managers Meeting served as the presentation’s stage. Nevertheless, only the first award was given out at the gathering of general managers. This is due to the fact that it was added to the list of trophies awarded during the official NHL award ceremony during the second presentation of the award during the 2010–11 season.
Up until the 2019–20 season, the honor was known simply as the General Manager Award. Due to the passing of James Michael Gregory, a well-known NHL executive, the award was changed to the Jim Gregory General Manager Award.
Jim Gregory spent many years in the NHL’s executive ranks. He first served as the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager for ten years, guiding them to many postseason appearances during that time. After they lost in the playoff quarterfinal, Jim was let go by the franchise owners.
Afterward, he was offered the opportunity to take on a new role as the Director of the NHL Central Scouting Service and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. He also served as the committee’s chairman for selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
About The Jim Gregory General Manager Award
The league’s top general manager receives the Jim Gregory General Manager Award each year. The winner of this award is chosen via a vote, like many NHL honors, although, unlike other awards, the poll is not conducted by PHWA or NHLPA members.
The 32 general managers in the league, along with other NHL executives and media members, voted to determine the winners of the general manager award. Upon the conclusion of the NHL playoffs’ second round, voting for the poll is done.
Following the voting process, the poll’s results are tallied, and the three general managers who received the most votes are announced as finalists. The NHL announces the winner from the finalist during the award presentation that follows the Stanley Cup playoff games.
Winners Of The General Manager Of The Year Award
As was previously mentioned, there have only been 14 awards given out since the Jim Gregory General Manager Award’s introduction in the NHL. This year’s prize will be granted for the fourteenth time in 2022–2023.
Let’s look at some information on the award using the scant record that is currently accessible.
NHL General Manager With Most Jim Gregory Award
There has only ever been one general manager who has received the Jim Gregory Manager of the Year award multiple times. This merely indicates that 13 managers currently hold the 14 awards that were given out.
Lou Lamoriello, who oversees the New York Islanders, is the only general manager to have taken home the award more than once. For the 2019–20 season, Lamoriello took home the prize, and the following year, he won it again. He now holds the distinction of being the only general manager in the NHL to have received the Jim Gregory Manager of the Year award twice in a row.
The award’s past recipients, from the 2009–10 season up to the present, are listed in the table below.
|Season||Winners||No. Of Trophies|
|2019-20 & 2020-21||Lou Lamoriello||2|
NHL Team With Most Jim Gregory General Manager Award
The Jim Gregory Award has only been won by a small number of managers; hence, there aren’t many teams that have won it more than once. In actuality, only two NHL teams have won two Jim Gregory General Manager Awards.
The first team is the New York Islanders, while the second is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lou Lamoriello, the sole general manager to win the trophy twice, earned both of the New York Islanders’ trophies, while two different coaches took home the prize for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the 2012–13 season, the inaugural coach, Ray Shero, won it with the Penguins. In the 2015–16 season, Jim Rutherford won it.
|NHL Franchise||No. Of Awards|
|New York Islanders||2|
|St. Louis Blues||1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||1|
|Vegas Golden Knights||1|
About Recent Winners Of The Jim Gregory Manager Award
Don Sweeney (2018-19)
Don Sweeney, a former defenseman for the Boston Bruins, had a highly successful career with the team, playing 1,100 games and finishing among the best ten ice hockey players in the Bruins.
After Peter Chiarelli was ousted from his job as general manager in 2015, he was assigned to the position. He began his hockey career with the Bruins in 2004. He made some trades that changed the squad in his first year with the Bruins.
Under his leadership, the Bruins finished second in their division, second in their conference, and third overall in the league standings for the 2018–19 season. The Bruins maintained their superiority throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs, where they continued to excel until they advanced to their first championship game since 2013.
Regardless of their successful run, the St. Louis Blues defeated them that season. Don Sweeney was praised for his methodical management of the club and for resolving its internal issues despite the team’s defeat to the Blues.
Lou Lamoriello (2019-20 & 2020-21)
Lou Lamoriello is one of the most successful general managers in the NHL. He started off with the New Jersey Devils before going to the Toronto Maple Leafs and, finally, the New York Islanders, where he still holds the position of general manager.
Lou was hired by the president of the Islander in 2018, and months later he fired the head coach and general manager of the franchise. He brought in another head coach and made himself the general manager of the franchise.
Since 2018, he has led the Islanders to three consecutive playoffs from the 2018-19 season to the 2020-21 season. Eventually, he was awarded the General Manager of the Year award twice (2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons). He is also the only executive to take on the position of general manager at or above the age of 80.
Joe Sakic (2021-22)
Joe Sakic was a center for the Colorado Avalanche, whom he represented during his NHL career. He retired in 2009, and barely two years later, he started working as a team executive.
He was elevated to the position of executive vice president of hockey operations for the Avalanche in 2013. He subsequently rose through the ranks to become the team’s general manager. However, the Avalanche had a low point in the 2016–17 campaign when they were eliminated from playoff contention, a performance that Sakic claimed he thought would result in his dismissal from his post.
Despite the performance, he kept his job. The 2020–21 season saw him finally achieve success as they won the President’s Cup for finishing first in the league in terms of points. But they lost in the second round of the playoffs.
They would learn from this error in the 2021–22 season, when they finished second in the league and went on to win the Stanley Cup. He became the first person with this victory to have won the Stanley Cup both as a player and a coach. This was another requirement that made him the ideal recipient of the Jim Gregory General Manager Award for the 2021–2022 campaign.
Jim Nill (2022-23)
The General Manager of the Year award was most recently given to Jim Nill. He once played for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, and Vancouver Canucks, among other teams. He became a volunteer scout with the Ottawa Senators after his playing days were over. Before managing the Detroit Red Wings in the future, he first worked for the team as a professional scout.
He was chosen in 2013 to serve as the Dallas Stars’ general manager. Jim Nill moved the roster a lot after accepting the post, including making significant transactions. Following his success in leading the Stars to the league’s most points, he received the title of general manager of the year.
With 108 points at the conclusion of the regular season, the franchise had the best point total since the 2015–16 campaign.
General Managers in the NHL are responsible for making all the decisions that control the internal affairs of a team, such as trades, who to hire as a coach, NHL drafts, the team’s salary cap, and many more. It is for this reason that they deserve an award of their own as it is relatively complex to make decisions and project their impact on a team and players.
Thanks for reading.