1979 -The Edmonton Oilers played their first NHL pre-season game in Brandon, Manitoba against Winnipeg, and lost 4-2 to the Jets.
1991 – Bob Pulford (TOR/LAK) , Mike Bossy (NYI), Denis Potvin (NYI), and veteran Clint Smith (NYR/CHI) were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, at a ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario.
1992 – Manon Rheaume became the first woman ever to play in an NHL exhibition game, when she played in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning. She made 7 saves and gave up two goals in one period in a game against the Blues, in Tampa Bay. (In Phil Esposito’s book “Lightning & Thunder: A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir”, he explains his rationale, as the founder of the team, for hiring Ms. Rheaume to play in this game. One reason he gave is that the average temperature in Florida in September is 90 degrees and without a “gimmick” people would choose the beach rather than a hockey game.)
1937 – The NHL adopted a new “icing rule”, whereby a team which deliberately shot the puck out of its defensive zone (when not shorthanded) would have the ensuing face-off brought back to the defensive zone point from where the puck was shot.
1969 – Bobby Clarke played his first game as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, and picked up two assists in a 2-2 exhibition tie against the AHL Quebec Aces at Quebec City. (Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987, he played in 1144 regular season games, scoring 1210 points (358 goals plus 852 assists), and was a member of the Flyers’ 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup Champions teams.)
1926 – The National Hockey League officially granted franchises to two new teams, the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Cougars (later changed to Red Wings), raising the NHL total to ten teams. (Yes, 10!)
1984 – The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto inducted its newest (player) members: Phil Esposito (CHI/BOS/NYR), Jacques Lemaire (MTL), Bernie Parent (BOS/TOR/PHI). And in the Builders category, Jake Milford…. and the infamous coach, George “Punch” Imlach.
1925 – The NY Americans purchased the roster of the suspended-Hamilton Tigers for $75,000 when the Hamilton franchise was dropped from the NHL. At the same time, the new Pittsburgh team bought out the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the U.S. Amateur league.
1930 – At the annual NHL Governors’ meeting a new rule was passed: “The puck must be propelled into the attacking zone before any player of the attacking side can enter that zone.” (The Offside Rule)
1972 – The first NHL game was played at Nassau Coliseum, in New York. 11,053 watched as the Rangers beat the Islanders 6-4, in an exhibition game.
1942 – At the semi-annual NHL meetings (in Toronto), President Calder announced that Madison Square Garden declined to renew the lease of the Brooklyn Americans, causing the team to suspend operations. The NHL shrunk to six teams for the next 25 years. —(The “Original Six”, as we now know them)
Our featured player this week: St. Louis, Mo boy makes good!
1997 – The New York Rangers acquired Pat LaFontaine from the Buffalo Sabres, in exchange for a 1998 2nd Round Draft Pick, and future considerations.
Born in Feb. 1965, LaFontaine was chosen in Round 1, 3rd overall, by the Islanders in the 1983 entry Draft. During his career, most of which was played with the Islanders, he scored a total of 1013 points (468 goals, 545 assists) in 865 regular season games. In 2003, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Although he had suffered many concussions during his career, the one that ended his professional playing days happened on March 16, 1998 in a game against the Senators.
In his own words:
“A bad day is you have no enthusiasm,” LaFontaine said today in the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “You have a migraine headache. You’re anxious. You don’t want to leave the house. You’re very emotional. You just can’t see the light. There’s no spark. There’s nothing, and you can’t find it. It’s a very confusing place. I wouldn’t be able to sit and have a conversation.” (An excerpt from a January 27, 2012 article in “Sabres Edge”.)
Since retiring, he has been associated with the Long Island Royals (see NHL Network’s “Making of a Royal”), and established the Champions in Courage Foundation. He also contributes his time to insuring that more attention is given to the problem of concussions in the NHL.
See you next week! (And let me know if you like these weekly tidbits.)
~ Mary Ann Massengale