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Top Goal Scorer Equals Team Success?


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Having actually won the Kevin Brooks Trophy for Most Goals in a Season with my prior player, Guy Lesieur, back in S75, I decided I wanted to take a little look back at the history of that award and more specifically how much it mattered to overall team success.


A Big Caveat


One huge caveat – to keep this within the work scope of a 500 word article, I only went back 10 seasons (S78-S69). This is obviously too small a sample to say anything definitive and the methodology is also not robust enough togive a clear answer to the question. But I think the research results are fairly interesting.




First, on the methodology. I wanted to take a look at two indicators of success: point placement in the regular season and how deep did the Brooks Trophy winner’s team go in the playoffs that year.


General Analysis and Fun Facts


Before diving into the answers to the questions of team regular season and playoff success or failure, I would like to survey the last 10 years of history regarding the trophy.


Fun Facts – The Skaters


In the 10 years I examined, there were 7 different winners showing that the goal leader is not an easy task to accomplish with all the competition out there in the VHL. The most recent repeat winner was Mikko Lahtinen in S76 and S74. The really dominant force was Julius Freeman who won the Brooks in 3 different years: S69, S71 and with the only back-to-back win also in S72. Julius Freeman is also the only skater in the past 10 seasons to have won the award with two different teams – S69 and S71 with Vancouver and S72 with New York.


Fun Facts – The Teams


In the past 10 years, seven different teams have boasted having the Brooks Trophy winner on their team. Those teams were Chicago, Seattle, Moscow, D.C., L.A., New York, and Vancouver, however, it is Moscow with the most repeats (3) and Vancouver trailing behind (2).


Regular Season Success


The Brooks Trophy winner seems to make a huge impact on success in the regular season. A full half of the ten seasons studied, the award winner’s team came out absolutely on top and once they tied for first. The outright winners were: Moscow (S70, S74, and S76) and Vancouver (S69 and S71). Interesting as it means that EVERY time these two teams rostered the Brooks winner in the past 10 seasons, they won the regular season. Chicago tied with Warsaw in the regular season for most points with Robin Winter skating for the Windy City.


The other 4 times the Brooks Trophy Winner’s team placed 4th (twice), 6th, and 13th (this latter being the one elimination.


So, it seems apart from the one outlier 13th place playoff elimination, having the top goal scorer in the league leads to regular season success.


Playoff Success


But what about when the games matter most?


Twice in 10 years the Brooks Trophy winner’s team won the cup: Seattle in S77 and Moscow in S70. There was also one team who lost in the finals: Chicago in S78.


Conversely, there was only one team who was eliminated from the playoffs altogether.


Beginning in S73 an additional playoff round was added with 4 teams competing to play-in to the later rounds, so it’s not apples and apples to determine success by how many rounds the team played in the playoffs. I will, instead, talk about whether a team won or lost in the first real round where all teams were competing.


Of the 9 times when the Trophy winner’s team made the playoffs, only once did a team go out in the first real round – Moscow in S74. Avoiding an early exit seemed to be much more likely if you had the Brooks winner on your team.


However with “only” 3-Cup appearances for the Brooks winner’s team out of 10 tries (30%), having the top goal scorer certainly didn’t guarantee ultimate success.




Looking at all the data from this admittedly small sample size it seems to confirm the overall hockey common knowledge. The regular season is one thing and anything can happen in the playoffs.


699 words - cliaming the theme week bonus this week and the capped portion week of 8/29


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Great job on the article. Nice and neat layout. Only thing that can be improved is to set the font color to automatic so dark users like me can actually read the article without having to highlight it to even see it. Other that that great job 9/10

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