PHWA to make NHL award ballots public for first time

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Beginning this June, the Professional Hockey Writers Association will reveal the ballots of each voter for the NHL Awards. After much debate over the past several years, 81.3 percent of the group’s membership voted in favor of full transparency.

The PHWA, which announced the decision on Friday, votes on the Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke, Lady Byng, Masterton and Conn Smythe trophies, and the NHL All-Star and All-Rookie teams.

“As journalists we expect full transparency from the teams and people we cover,” said PHWA President Mark Spector. “Our Members are aware that the same is expected of us from our readers, and many voters have voluntarily revealed their ballots in the past. As a group, we have concluded that it is time to make full transparency part and parcel of voting on the NHL Awards.”

Members were allowed to publish their ballots voluntarily in the past, but some felt like their choices should remain private. The full ballots will be revealed on the PHWA website within days of the NHL Awards show in June.

The PHWA distributes ballots in early April, with selections due before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nearly half of the group’s 300 members are given the opportunity to vote every year, along with a handful of national broadcasters.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a PHWA member since 2013-14 and voted in favor of transparency.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.