Winners: Buddy O'Connor, Ice Hockey

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Buddy O'Connor with trophies.

Buddy O'Connor of the New York Rangers with trophies presented to him.
Date:December 6, 1948
Collection:Getty Images/New York Daily News Archive/Hank Olen

1948 - Feature Story

Buddy O’Connor’s career in the National Hockey League peaked in 1948 in a way no one else’s ever quite did. Traded from Montreal before the start of the 1947-1948 NHL regular season, he led the New York Rangers to their first playoff berth in six years, edging out the Canadiens along the way. O’Connor finished with 24 goals and 60 points, missing the league scoring title by one point, but won the NHL’s Hart Trophy as most valuable player and Lady Byng Trophy as most gentlemanly. No player had ever won both awards before in the same season and none would again until Bobby Hull in 1965. But 1948 itself ended badly for O’Connor; he was injured in a car wreck along with three of his Rangers teammates. With broken ribs, O’Connor missed the start of the 1948-1949 NHL season and never regained his 1948 form.

Career Highlights

  • 1988 Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
  • 1948 Lionel Conacher Award (Canada’s male athlete of the year)
  • 1948 One of only five players in NHL history (later joined by Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic) to win the Hart Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in the same season.
  • 1944, 1946 Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens
  • 1939 Allan Cup finalist.
Buddy O'Connor accepts award.

Buddy O'Connor receives the Paul Revere Liberty Bowl Award.
Date: March 20, 1948
Collection: Getty Images/ New York Daily News Archive/Seymour Wally

Buddy O'Connor with teammate.

Buddy O'Connor as the New York Rangers' captain, with Edgar Laprade.
Date: January 3, 1950
Collection: Getty Images/New York Daily News Archive/Bill Meurer

Buddy O'Connor sitting in his dressing room

Buddy O'Connor (far right) meeting with teammates and New York Rangers' psychologist.
Date: November 15, 1950
Collection: Bettmann/CORBIS

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