The trophy for most valuable player in the NHL playoffs is named after a racist
The trophy for most valuable player in the NHL is named for Conn Smythe, a known racist who owned the Toronto Maple Leafs for over 30 years.
His name appears on the Stanley Cup eight times, and he's widely quoted as saying he'd give $10,000 to anyone who could turn promising Black hockey player Herb Carnegie's skin white.
Google Smythe and you're sure to turn up this quote, but not without wading through accolades of his wartime efforts and integral presence in the NHL.
@SiriusXMNHL listening this am. Conn Smythe was a racist. Did not allow Italian named or black players. How far back does NHL go? Rename the trophy?— Bruno (@BELLERIVERGUY) December 10, 2019
What you have to dig deeper for are accounts of Smythe refusing to hire Jewish people and trading away Jewish players, according to a fan letter to The Toronto Star, and his stance against unions for players.
Steve Simmons recently wrote a column for Toronto Sun with the headline: "It's the right time to rename the Conn Smythe Trophy."
In light of so much rebranding and renaming going on in Canada and elsewhere in an effort to scrub everything from products to buildings clean of their racist past and promote racial equality, he's got a good point.
Simmons identifies how we're still in the infancy of racial equality when it comes to hockey, noting that in a few days' time Jarome Iginla will become the first Black non-goalie hockey player ever to be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Things have to change!!— Hockeytoronto.com (@hockeytoronto) June 4, 2020
The founder of the #Leafs ; and the name on the #StanleyCup #Playoffs #MVP trophy, Conn Smythe once said that he would pay someone 10,000 dollars if they could turn Herb Carnegie white!#ignorance #arrogance #racist #NHL
People have definitely been pointing out that the trophy needs to be renamed since long before the June 20 publishing of Simmons' column.
Great decision by the NHL, but they need to also change the name of the playoff MVP to honor Jean Beliveau instead of that racist Conn Smythe.— dave john (@donusic) November 19, 2019
Simmons and others suggest renaming the trophy after Jean Beliveau, the first person to receive it in 1965 and Carnegie's teammate on the Quebec Aces.
It's fairly minor on the commemoration scale, but *perhaps* we should restart the conversation on naming NHL Trophies so that they don't honour union busters (Jack Adams), outspoken racists (Conn Smythe) or mobsters/mobster patriarchs (James Norris)— (((Kung Fu Canuck))) (@kungfu_canuck) June 10, 2020
Simmons and others are also calling for the renaming of other NHL trophies associated with dicey characters such as James Norris and Jack Adams.
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