The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's top "defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position". The James Norris Memorial Trophy has been awarded 54 times to 23 different players since its beginnings in 1954. At the end of each season, members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote to determine the player who was the best defenseman during the regular season.
The trophy is named in honour of James E. Norris, owner of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings from 1932 to 1952. The trophy was first awarded at the conclusion of the 1953–54 NHL season.
Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins won the award for a record eight consecutive seasons (1968–75). Doug Harvey won the award seven times, while Nicklas Lidstrom has won it six times in his career and Ray Bourque won it five times during his career. The Boston Bruins have won the most Norris Trophies with 14. The Montreal Canadiens are second with 11.
There are only two players that have won both the Norris and Hart Memorial Trophy for the same season: Bobby Orr, who won both trophies for the 1969–70, 1970–71 and 1971–72 seasons, and Chris Pronger, who won the Hart and Norris for the 1999–2000 NHL season.
Seven different defensemen won the Hart Trophy before the Norris Trophy's establishment: Billy Burch, Eddie Shore (four times), Herb Gardiner, Albert "Babe" Siebert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Tommy Anderson and Babe Pratt.
The voting is conducted at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10–7–5–3–1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL awards ceremony after the conclusion of the playoffs.
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