The award given to the league’s top rookie each year could only be named after the man who served as the first president of the NHL.
Frank Calder gave his life to the sport of hockey.
Calder was born in Bristol, England in 1877. He immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s and taught at a private school in Montreal before becoming a sportswriter. Impressed by Calder’s direct and insightful ways, former Montreal Canadiens owner George Kennedy got Calder elected secretary of the National Hockey Association.
In 1917, the NHA folded and the National Hockey League was formed with Calder picked to be the first president.
Starting in 1933, Calder purchased a trophy and awarded it to the best rookie each season.
Through his 25 years of service to the NHL, Calder is most remembered for helping the league survive during both world wars and the Great Depression, as teams dealt with having fewer players available and franchises were forced to move or fold because of economic struggles.
Calder’s health had deteriorated by 1943 partly because of all of the traveling he did to monitor the game. After Calder collapsed at a league meeting, a plan was made to name Mervyn “Red” Dutton the temporary president so that Calder could take a break. Calder died the day after the motion was passed.
The trophy given to the player “most proficient in his first year of competition” was renamed the Calder Memorial Trophy after Frank Calder’s death in 1943. Calder was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.
Information from the Hockey Hall of Fame was used in this report.