This card, which measures approximately 1½” by 2½”, is the only
recognized rookie card of the man whose name is synonymous with
goal-tending excellence. Georges Vezina is to hockey goalies what Cy
Young is to baseball pitchers when it comes to personal achievement.
At the end of each season, the best goalie in the league is presented
with the award that bears Vezina's name. From the beginning, it was
clear that Vezina was something special. In his rookie campaign of
1910, Vezina led the league in goals-against average and repeated the
feat the very next year. He also led the Montreal Canadiens to their first
two Stanley Cups in 1916 and 1924. During training camp for the 1925
season, Vezina fell ill and was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis.
Vezina passed away in 1926 but, prior to that season, the NHL created
the Georges Vezina Trophy to recognize the game's best goalie and
honor the man who set the standard at the position. Fittingly, the first recipient of the award was Vezina's replacement, George Hainsworth. Vezina finished his career with a goals-against average of 3.49, a figure that is even more impressive when you consider that goalies were not
allowed to go down to their knees to gain control of the puck at that time. Vezina was part of the inaugural Hockey Hall of Fame class of 1945.
Joseph-Georges-Gonzague Vezina (January 21, 1887 - March 27, 1926) was the first true superstar goaltender professional hockey ever saw in the National Hockey Association and National Hockey League. Georges was the only goaltender to play for the Montreal Canadiens from 1910-1925 both in the NHA for seven seasons and NHL for nine. Known for his subdued demeanor, Vezina was referred to as cool as a “Chicoutimi Cucumber”, named for his hometown. In 1918, Vezina became the first goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout and the first goaltender to register an assist. Georges amazing career was highlighted by his stellar play in net, leading the NHA in goals against average four times and the NHL three times. He led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Finals one five occasions backstopping a squad that won the first two titles in franchise history (1919, 1924). He also contributed to 1924-25 Habs numbers before being forced into retirement due to tuberculosis in 1925. Georges Vezina finished his career with 27 wins, 65 losses and one tie in the NHA as well as 103 NHL wins, 81 losses and 5 ties. He is widely considered one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history and was honored in 1926, following his death from TB in March, when the owners of the Canadiens donated the Vezina Trophy to the NHL for presentation to each year’s top NHL goaltender. Ironically, the first recipient of the award was George Hainsworth, Vezina’s final and only replacement in his 16-year career. Georges Vezina was and inaugural inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.