CALGARY, AB -- Bobby Orr, whom many consider the best player in the history of hockey, led all balloting in the player category to win the Jean Beliveau Award for 1997, Canadian Hockey announced Wednesday.
At its annual awards presentation to honor Canadians' outstanding contribution to the game in Canada and internationally, Canadian Hockey also honored Glen Sather, the Edmonton Oilers president and general manager. Sather was named a winner in the leadership category, claiming the Father David Bauer Award. In the team category, Canada's 1987 Canada Cup-winning team was named the recipient of the Team Canada Award.
The second annual Canadian Hockey Awards provide Canadians with the chance to honor the many players, coaches, officials and administrators that make the game of hockey so great. Known as 'The People's Choice Awards' for hockey, the Canadian Hockey Awards are voted on by Canadians across the country. The nominees are selected by a Nominations Committee that includes representatives from the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union, the Canadian Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the National Hockey League, the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canadian Hockey.
Orr, winner of two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins in 19, led Team Canada to victory in the 1976 Canada Cup. Despite playing on two sore knees, which would eventually force him out of hockey, Orr's on-ice brilliance during the tournament earned him honors as the most valuable player in the tournament. Orr had missed the 1972 Summit Series between Team Canada and the Soviet Union because of his injured knees.
An offensively creative, swift-skating defenceman, Orr twice won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer (1970, 1975), won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player three straight years (1970, 71, 72) and owned the James Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman for eight straight seasons -- 1968-1975.
Orr's award was presented by Peter Case, Vice-President, advertising and direct marketing with the Royal Bank, and Wayne Russell, a Canadian Hockey officer.
The other nominees for the Jean Beliveau Award were Paul Kariya, a gold medalist for Canada at the 1994 World Hockey Championship and a silver medalist as a member of Canada's 1994 Olympic Hockey Team, and Randy Gregg, captain of Canada's 1980 Olympic Hockey Team and a gold medalist with Team Canada in the 1984 Canada Cup.
Sather, the recipient of the Father David Bauer Award, was general manager and head coach of Canada's silver-medal winning 1996 World Cup of Hockey team, as well as GM of Canada's gold medal-winning club at the 1994 World Hockey Championship in Milan, Italy. He also was GM and head coach of Canada's 1984 Canada Cup team, and a member of the management committee for the gold medal-winning 1987 Canada Cup team.
The Father Bauer Award was presented by Roger Purdie, vice-president and general manager of marketing for Imperial Oil and Canadian Hockey officer Don Brown.
The other nominees for the Father Bauer Award were Clare Drake, longtime head coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and Ed Chynoweth, former president of the Western Hockey League.
The 1987 Canada Cup team, which earned the Team Canada Award, is perhaps best remembered for the spectacular winning goal scored by Mario Lemieux on a pass from Wayne Gretzky in Game 3 of the best-of-three final series. GM and head coach Mike Keenan, with assistants John Muckler and Jean Perron piloted that team to the tournament championship.
The nominees in the team category included the 1994 World Championship Team and the 1994 Women's World Championship team. Denis Vandal, manager of merchandising and commercial sponsorship for Air Canada, presented the Team Canada Award, along with Don Butorac of Canadian Hockey and Paul Henderson, the hero of Team Canada 1972.
The awards were presented at a gala ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday night.