The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is an annual award given "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season; each voter ranks his top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is presented at the NHL Awards after the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lady Byng, wife of Canada's governor general at the time, presented the Lady Byng Trophy in 1925. She decided the first winner would be Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators. Late in the season, Lady Byng invited Nighbor to Rideau Hall, showed him the trophy and asked him if the NHL would accept it as an award for its most gentlemanly player. When Nighbor said he thought it would, Lady Byng, much to Nighbor's surprise, awarded him the trophy.
After Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won the award seven times in eight seasons from 1927-28 through 1934-35, he was given the trophy to keep. Lady Byng donated a replacement in 1936. After her death in 1949, the NHL presented a new trophy and changed the name to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
In addition to Boucher, several players have won the award multiple times -- including Wayne Gretzky (five), Red Kelly and Pavel Datsyuk (four), and Bobby Bauer, Alex Delvecchio, Mike Bossy, Ron Francis and Martin St. Louis (three). The Rangers and Detroit Red Wings have won the award more often than any other team -- 14 times. The Toronto Maple Leafs are next with nine, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are tied with eight and the Los Angeles Kings are next with six.
No goaltender has won the award; Bill Quackenbush (1949, Red Wings), Kelly (1941, 1953, 1954 Red Wings; also won as forward in 1961 with the Maple Leafs) and Brian Campbell (2012, Florida Panthers) are the only defensemen to do so.