Auston Matthews becomes the first Latino NHL player to win the Hart Trophy
The Mexican-American hockey star was awarded the league’s most valuable player award after finishing the season with 60 goals.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
In the nearly 100 years since the National Hockey League has given out the Hart Trophy — the league’s Most Valuable Player award — there had never been a player of Hispanic descent who has won it, until now.
On Tuesday, June 24, the NHL named Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs as the winner of the 2021-22 Hart Trophy, beating out the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin.
The Maple Leafs star is the first Latino and hockey player of Mexican heritage to win the trophy.
“It's nice. I can't lie,” Matthews said upon receiving the award. “It feels really good. It's special to have my family here with me. A lot of great players in that room, a lot of really deserving guys. Definitely pretty special.”
Matthews had a historic season for the Maple Leafs, which also saw him win both the Ted Lindsay Award (the National Hockey League’s Player Association’s most outstanding player award) and his second consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the NHL in goals — just the third player in NHL history to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons.
The 24-year-old finished the season with a franchise record 60 goals. He also recorded a career-best 46 assists and 106 points.
The Leafs center helped lead Toronto to 54 wins and 115 points, both franchise records.
“It's a tremendous honor to wear the blue and white, represent the city of Toronto and wear the Maple Leaf every night,” Matthews told ESPN. “Every time you get your name etched in history, with an organization like that, it's something I don't take for granted.”
In addition to being the first player of Mexican descent to win the Hart Trophy, he is also just the second American-born player to win it.
Born in San Ramon, California, and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Matthews is the child of an American father and a mother originally from Hermosillo, Mexico.
His Hart Trophy win makes him just the third Maple Leafs player to win the trophy, and the first since 1955.
Matthews was drafted into the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Since he was drafted, his other career accolades include winning the NHL's Rookie of the Year award, making the NHL All-Rookie Team, playing in three NHL All-Star Games, and making two NHL All-Star Teams.