​This Date In Hockey History - December

This date in hockey history, December 1, 1924, The Boston Bruins played their first game in the NHL and the first NHL game ever played in the United States, defeating the Montreal Maroons 2-1 at the Boston Arena.

This date in hockey history, December 1, 1938, Frank Brimsek made his debut in the nets for the Boston Bruins, losing 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. But Brimsek recovered nicely, earning shutouts in six of his next seven games which earned him the nickname “Mister Zero”.

This date in hockey history, December 1, 1940, Max Bentley scored his first NHL goal with the Chicago Black Hawks during a 4-1 home ice victory against the New York Rangers.


This date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 1, 1949, Conn Smythe benched his starting goalie Turk Broda for being overweight . Gil Mayer made his only start of the season for the Leafs who lost 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wngs. Broda was back in the nets for the next game after he lost enough weight to satisfy Smythe and the Leafs defeated the New York Rangers 2-0.









This date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 1, 1967, Jim McKenny was born in Ottawa Ontario. “Howie” played 594 games with Toronto primarily from 1969 to 1977 scoring 327 points as a puck rushing defenseman. While playing with Toronto's American league affiliate the Rochester Americans, Mckenny's rooomate was Donald S. Cherry. McKenny famously said of hockey that “Half the game is mental. The other half is being mental.”

This date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 1, 1957, Frank Mahovlich
was in his rookie season and scored a hat trick during a Leafs 7-2 victory against the Chicago Black Hawks at Chicago stadium. Mahovlich went 20-16-36 in 1957-58, winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year over Bobby Hull. His rookie card pictured below is valued at $500.

On this date in hockey history, December 1, 1940, four pairs of brothers played in one NHL game. The Chicago Black Hawks defeated the New York Rangers 4-1. Max and Doug Bentley along with Bob and Bill Carse suited up for the Hawks while Neil and Mac Colville and Lynn and Muzz Patrick played for the Rangers.

On this date in hockey history, December 2, 1909, the National Hockey Association (NHA) was established in Montreal consisting of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers and Renfrew Creamery Kings. The NHA would later evolve into the NHL. Renfrew was a small mining town in northern Ontario which prospered during the silver mining boom years. M.J. O'Brien and son Ambrose were the owners of the Renfrew team in the semi professional Federal Hockey League and sought to enter the new Canadien Hockey Association (CHA) but were turned down. So they created their own league the NHA. Renfrew boasted the legendary Frank Patrick and Fred “Cyclone” Taylor and Newsy Lalonde the NHA's first scoring champion and finished 8-3-1 that first season. They slipped to 8-8 next season. The Renfrew team folded after two seasons. The CHA folded after 8 weeks.

On this date in hockey history, December 2, 1925, the New York Americans played their first NHL game in Pittsburgh, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1. Billy Burch scored the first goal with Charlie Langlois netting the winner in overtime.


On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 4, 1980, Jim Rutherford was acquired by the Leafs from Detroit for Mark Kirton who had been their first round draft pick in 1980. Rutherford was an Ontario boy from Beeton less than an hours drive from Toronto so his first game played for the Red Wings at Maple Leafs Gardens on January 2, 1971 was an emotional moment. Unfortunately for the rookie Rutherford and the Wings, the game was full of bad memories as the Leafs hammered the Wings 13-0. Rutherford gave up three in the first period, then spent the rest of the game on the bench and saw Torotno score three more in the second and seven goals in the third.

Rutherford played 18 game with the Leafs going 4-10-2 with a 5.12 GAA before Toronto traded him to the Los Angeles Kings. With that trade, Rutherford became the first NHL goalie to play for three teams in the same season.

On this date in hockey history, December 3, 1970, Frank Mahovlich of the Detroit Red Wings scored his 400th career goal, becoming the sixth NHL player to reach that milestone. Mahovlich found great individual success in Detroit enjoying his freedom after escaping the Toronto Maple Leafs and Punch Imlach with fellow Leafs refugees Bob Baun and Carl Brewer, scoring a career high 49 goals in 1967-68 and 38 goals in 1968-69, more than he scored in 11 of his 12 seasons with the Leafs.


On this date in Buffalo Sabres history, December 4th 1978, General Manager Punch Imlach was fired along with Coach Marcel Pronovost. Billy Inglis was hired to replace Pronovost.

On this date in hockey history, December 4, 1909, the Montreal Canadiens were founded as the “Club de Hockey Canadien” by J. Ambrose O'Brien and Jack Laviolette. Originally members of the National Hockey Association, the Canadiens were stocked with francophone players to represent Montreal's francophone community. They finished in last place in their first season but won their first Stanley Cup in the 1915-16 season. In 1917, the National Hockey Association (NHA) became ethe NHL. With Howie Morenz leading the way, the NHL Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in the 1923-24 season.

On this date in hockey history December 5, 1939, Eddie Shore played his last game a Boston Bruin in a 2-1 victory over the New York Americans at the Boston Garden.

On this date in hockey history, December 5 1943, Bill Cowley and Herb Cain both scored three points on a goal and two assists when the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens and rookie goaltender Bill Durnan. This was Durnans first loss after a record 12-0-2 streak to start his NHL career.

On this date in hockey history, December 5 1983, Wayne Gretzky had three assists during a 4-2 victory at Pittsburgh. This gave Gretzky 1,400 points in 580 games, joining Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita, Phil Espsoito and Marcel Dionne in that exclusive club.

On this date in hockey history, December 5, 1968, the Montreal Canadiens debuted a future Hall of Fame goaltender when Tony Esposito against the Boston Bruins and their future Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, Tony's brother. Phil scored twice against his brother in a 2-2 tie.

On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 6, 1947, the Leafs hammered the Chicago Black Hawks 12-5 with Max Bentley and Harry Watson scoring hat tricks. The 1947-48 Leafs finished on top of the NHL standings and won their second Stanley Cup in a string of three consecutive championships in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

On this date in hockey history, December 6, 1987, Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers had a hat trick in the first period against the Minnesota North Stars for his 43rd career hat trick. Then he added two more goals and an assist for a six point game in a 10-4 victory. The five goal game was the fifth of Gretzky's career.

On this date in hockey history, Greg Millen recorded his third consecutive shutout 3-0 over the Minnesota North Stars. Millen finished the season with a 3.38 GAA , six shutouts and a save percentage of .880

On this date in hockey history, December 6, 1929, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Harvey “Busher” Jackson. He made his debut at age 18 against the Montreal Canadiens and announced his arrival by knocking down his idol Howie Morenz.

On this date in hockey history, December 6, 1959, Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks notched his first hat trick in the NHL in a 6-3 victory by the Chicago Black hawks over the Boston Bruins.

On this date in hockey history, December 6, 1995, a monumental trade took place which altered the competitive balance of the NHL when the Montreal Canadiens sent Patrick Roy and Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for a package of Martin Rucinsky, Andrei Kovalenko and goaltender Jocelyn Thibault. Montreal coach Mario Trembaly and Roy didn't get along when they had played together and their frayed relationship reached it's breaking point when the Detroit Red Wings came to town for a game on December 2nd. Roy had run into Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon that morning at breakfast and Roy had confided that the pressure from the media and fans in Montreal had really gotten to him and he was even considering retirement. Vernon told him that he needed to get traded, that a trade from Calgary had relieved Vernon from the pressure of playing for his hometown team that had been unable to repeat their 1989 Stanley Cup championship. Later that evening, Tremblay left Roy in nets as he endured brutal booing from the fans while the Red Wings piled up a 9-1 lead. Roy pulled himself from the game and stormed past Tremblay over to Canadiens President Ronald Corey and told him he had played his last game for Montreal. Four days later the games greatest goaltender was on his way to Denver where he led the Avalanche to a pair of Stanley Cup championships. Montreal has not been in the finals since the end of the Roy era. Vernon's contribution to this saga is largely unknown but was likely the impetus for this monumental moment in NHL history.

On this date in hockey history, December 6, 1989, Mario Lemieux passed Jean Pronovost as the Pittsburgh Penguins all time goal scoring leader with his 317th goal in his 395th career game. Lemieux's goal helped the Penguins defeat the Washington Capitals 5-3.


On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1977, Gordie Howe of the WHA New England Whalers scored his 1,000 career professional goal in a 6-3 victory over the Birmingham Bulls. Howe beat goalie John Garrett at 11:36 of the first period ending a scoreless drought of 11 games. It took Howe 30 seasons to score his 1,000th goal and it included all NHL and WHA regular season and playoff games.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1919, the Toronto Arenas changed their name to the Toronto St. Patrick's. In 1926-27 they changed their name to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1961, Jean Beliveau played his first game as the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens. leading the Habs to a 4-1 victory the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Forum.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1975, Johnny Bucyk of the Boston Bruins tied Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens for sixth place in career NHL scoring when he tallied his 507th goal.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1940, Gerry Cheevers was born in St. Catharines, Ontario. Cheevers was one of the great “money” goaltenders of all time, winning two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972. Cheevers is also famous for his stitch covered face mask which originated after he was hit in the face with a puck during practice. Feigning injury, Cheeevrs went to the locker room where coach Harry Sinden found him smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. As a joke, Bruins trainer “Frosty” Forristall drew a stitch on his mask. A new stich mark was added every time he was struck in the mask and the legndary mask was created. The Hockey News tallied votes for the best mask design ever and Cheevers mask won in a landslide with 221 votes to 66 for Gilles Gratton's lions face mask. Ron Hextall the former Flyers goalie and current Flyers general manager called Cheevers mask the “greatest piece of sports memorabilia ever.”

Cheevers developed an uncoventional style of play as a flopping goalie which he learned with the Rochester Americans where his coach made him practice without a stick. In 1965, Cheevers set the AHL record for most victories in a single season by a goalie with 48. even so, he was hardly an overnight success in the NHL which consisted of only six teams at that time. Cheevers developed his style during six seasons in the minor leagues before becoming a full time goalie with Boston in 1967. In 1972 He went undefeated for 32 consecutive games which is an NHL record.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1982, the Edmonton Oilers defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 with Wayne Gretzky scoring his 23rd goal of the season at 6:23 of the second period at the Northlands Coliseum. That game marked the end of a 30 game scoring streak for Gretzky during which he collected an amazing 76 points on 24 goals and 54 assists.

On this date in hockey history, December 7, 1966, Henri Richard joined his brother Maurice “The Rocket” to become the first pair of brothers to each score 250 career NHL goals as the Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. “The Pocket Rocket” was the seventh player in franchise history with 250 career goals.

On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 7 , 1929, Harvey “Busher” Jackson played his first game as a Leaf. At age 18, he was the youngest player in the NHL. Jackson played ten years with the Leafs and holds the team recordd for most first team all star selections with four. He played on the famous “Kid Line” with Joe Primeau and Charlie Conacher and was part of the Leafs 1932 cup winning team.


On this date in hockey history, December 8, 1987, Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers became the first NHL goalie to actually shoot and score a goal. Here is his recollection of that game as told to Philadelphia Business Journal: “[Scoring a goal] was not high on my list of wanna-does,” he said. “The fans were on me to shoot — not only that night, but in prior games too. The media kept asking me questions about it. I said it would have to be the right opportunity, and if I had the right opportunity I’d take a shot. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Then I scored and our whole team came off the bench and guys were hooting and hollering almost like we won a playoff series. That’s what made it special to me, that my teammates were all there celebrating with me. It made it a bigger deal than I ever envisioned it would be. When I think back, I have fond memories of it.”





On this date in hockey history, December 8, 1984, the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 at Boston Gardens to give coach Scotty Bowman his 692nd career win to tie Dick Irvin for most victories by an NHL coach. Bowman coached for another 13 seasons and finished within 1,248 wins. Al Arbour is second with 782 victories. Scotty's nine Stanley Cups are also the most by any NHL coach. He also won five Stanley Cups as an executive, with Pittsburgh as Director Of Player Development in 1991, another with Detroit in 2008 as a Special Advisor, and threee more with Chicago as Senior Advisor of hockey Operation for a career total of 14, second only to Jean Beliveau's 17.


On this date in hockey history, December 9, 1924, the Toronto St. Patrick's signed a pharmacy student from the University of Toronto to play left wing. He moved to defense and played for the St. Pats/Maple Leafs until 1937, 11 years as team captain. His name was Clarence “Hap” Day.

On this date in hockey history, December 9, 1979, the Edmonton Oilers rookie goaltender Eddie Mio recorded the first shutout in the Oilers NHL history. Mio stopped 30 shots for his first career shutout while Wayne Gretzky and Pat Price each added a goal and an assist.

On this date in hockey history, December 9, 1954, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 at the Montreal Forum. The game featured a brawl where the teams combined for 36 penalties and 15 misconducts, setting a record for most penalties at that time.

On this date in hockey history, December 9 1976, the Philadelphia Flyers played the Boston Bruins at the Boston Gardens winning 3-1. this was the fourth consecutive season in which the Flyers and Bruins played on December 9th. Rick MacLiesh, Gary Dornhoefer on the power play and Bobby Clarke with a shortie into the empty net handled the scoring while Bernie Parent stopped 17 shots.

This date in hockey history, December 10, 1970, the Boston Bruins peppered Buffalo Sabres goaltender Joe Daley with 72 shots. Daley stopped 64 shots in an 8-0 loss. The 64 saves in one game are a Sabres record. The 72 shots were the most by an NHL team since 1943.

On this date in hockey history, December 10, 1924, the Montreal Maroons played the Montreal Canadiens in the first all Montreal game NHL game. The Canadiens won 5-0 with Auriel Joliet scoring four goals and Georges Vezina picking up the shutout. The Candiens won that game and also won the war as the Maroons folded in 1938.


On this date in hockey history, December 10, 1986, Wayne Gretzky had three goals in a 7-4 edmonton Oilers victory over the Winnipeg Jets. This was Gretzky's 40th career hat trick. That's right – 40 hat tricks by age 25. On December 10, 1989 Gretzky tallied his 1,900th point in only his 803rd NHL game, an 8-4 victory for the los Angeles Kings over the Quebec Nordiques.

On this date in hockey history, December 10, 1975, The Montreal Canadiens retired jersey number 16 which had been worn by Henri Richard and Elmer Lach prior to a game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. The game ended in a 3-3- tie.

On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 10, 1969, Johnny Bower played his final game for the Leafs, retiring from the NHL at age 45. He only played one game in that 1969-70 season,losing 6-3 to the Montreal Canadiens. His career record with Toronto was 22—161-79 with a 2.49 GAA. He returned to the Leafs as an assistant coach for the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons.


On this date in hockey history, December 11, 1982, the Hartford Whalers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4. this became known as the “First Cooperall Game” because both teams wore the long pants style popularized with the introduction of the Cooperall uniform system. Actually both teams wore CCM pants but the Cooperall name has become synonomous with the long pants look. The NHL banned the use of the long pants for safety reasons. The fabric was a sleek nylon like the short pants which created little friction when players slid on the ice as compared to the knit fabric of the hockey sock which acted more like a braking mechanism when players slid. As a result, players wearing the long pants tended to slide faster into the boards raising concerns about an increase in the number and severity of injuries resulting from their use.

On this date in hockey history, December 11, 1985, the Chicago Black Hawks scored nine goals in a single game. And lost. Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers scored 12 goals in a 12-9 victory over Chicago. The Hawks held Gretzky scoreless but he tied an NHL record with seven assists in one game while linemates Jari Kuri and Glenn Anderson each had a hat trick. Chicago outshot Edmonton 46 to 44 and both teams pulled their starting goalies with Murray Bannerman and Bob Suave sharing the net for Chicago while Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr split goaltending duties for the Oilers. The Oilers did not score on their one power play opportunity while the Hawks scored three times on four power plays. The 21 goals tied an NHL record for most total goals in a single game. Here is the game summary:

First Period
1 - EDM : Glenn Anderson 21 (Wayne Gretzky, Randy Gregg) (EV) 1:35
2 - EDM : Dave Lumley 5 (Billy Carroll, Kevin Lowe) (EV) 3:19
3 - EDM : Dave Semenko 5 (Craig MacTavish, Mark Napier) (EV) 4:58
4 - EDM : Marty McSorley 4 (Wayne Gretzky, Don Jackson) (EV) 13:24
Second Period
10 - CHI : Bill Watson 4 (Ken Yaremchuk, Jerry Dupont) (EV) 7:11
11 - CHI : Troy Murray 14 (Behn Wilson, Keith Brown) (PP) 9:36
12 - CHI : Jack O'Callahan 1 (Jerry Dupont, Troy Murray) (EV) 11:36

13 - EDM : Jari Kurri 20 (Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson) (EV) 14:52
14 - CHI : Keith Brown 3 (Ed Olczyk) (EV) 16:07
15 - EDM : Marty McSorley 5 (Lee Fogolin Jr., Kevin McClelland) (EV) 18:58
16 - EDM : Glenn Anderson 23 (Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey) (EV) 19:50
5 - EDM : Glenn Anderson 22 (Don Jackson, Wayne Gretzky) (EV) 1:20
6 - EDM : Kevin McClelland 5 (Marty McSorley, Raimo Summanen) (EV) 3:08
7 - CHI : Denis Savard 15 (Steve Larmer, Al Secord) (PP) 5:38
8 - EDM : Lee Fogolin Jr. 2 (Kevin McClelland, Raimo Summanen) (EV) 6:11
9 - CHI : Curt Fraser 14 (Troy Murray, Doug Wilson) (EV) 6:38
Third Period
17 - CHI : Troy Murray 15 (Ed Olczyk, Keith Brown) (PP) 13:22
18 - EDM : Jari Kurri 21 (Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson) (EV) 15:34
19 - CHI : Ken Yaremchuk 5 (Bill Gardner, Behn Wilson) (EV) 17:59
20 - EDM : Jari Kurri 22 (Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson) (EV) 19:24
21 - CHI : Ken Yaremchuk 6 (Tom Lysiak, Bill Gardner) (EV) 19:37

On this date in hockey history, December 11, 1982, the Quebec Nordiques defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-4. Peter Stastny scored three goals and had three helpers while his brother Marian had two goals and three assists for an 11 point night by the Stastny's. Peter Stastny would finish the season with 124 points, second in NHL scoring only to Wayne Gretzky's 196 points.


On this date in hockey history, December 12, 1970, Orland Kurtenbach scored the first hat trick in Vancouver Canucks history. This was Kurtenbach's pnly NHL career hat trick and he added an assist in the Canucks 5-2 win over the Oakland Seals. Kurtenbach finished the season with 21-32-53 totals in only 52 games. He was well known to old time hockey fans in vancouver having played for the WHL Vancouver Canucks during the the 1957-58, 1959-60 and 1960-61 seasons.

On this date in hockey history, December 12, 1971, Brad Park scored three goals and an assist for the New York Rangers in a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Park was the first Rangers defenseman to score a hat trick. He finished the 1971-72 season with 24-59-73 totals and 130 penalty minutes.

1981 - Ian Turnbull became the first defenseman in Kings history to score a hat trick (the second of his career) as the Kings won 7-5 over the Canucks. Turnbull finished the game with four goals.

On this day in hockey history, December 12, 1933 The Toronto Maple Leafs were playing in Boston against the Bruins. Early in the second period the Leafs were two men short and coach Dick Irvin dispatched his penalty killers, Frank “King” Clancy with Red Horner on defense with Irvine “Ace” Bailey at forward. Bailey proceeded to put on a penalty killing clinic ragging the puck using his exceptional stickhandling skills. Finally, Boston's Hall of Fame defenseman, Eddie Shore gathered the puck in and carried the play into the Toronto zone where he was hip checked by Horner.

Shore was dazed by the hit and sought his revenge. He skated after Ace Bailey perhaps thinking he was Horner. Shore caught Bailey with a viscious check flipping him in the air. Bailey hit the ice head first and went into convulsions, bleeding from a head wound. Horner went after Shore and punched him, knocking him unconscious. Both Bailey and Shore had to be carried of the ice.

While Shore had a small cut on his head, Bailey's injury was far more serious and he was taken to the Bruins dressing room where the Bruins team doctors examined his wound. Shore had regained consciousness and went to Bailey to apologize. Bailey told Shore “It's all part of the game”, before he slipped back into unconsciousness.

Bailey was hospitalized with a cerebral hemmorhage and his death seemed imminent. In the event of Bailey's death, homicide detectives were prepared to charge Shore with manslaughter. Bailey's father travelled to Boston with a pistol intent on avenging his sons injury against Shore but Boston police interceeded and convinced him to abandon his plan.

Bailey underwent two operations after which his death seemed imminent. A priest was summoned to administer the last rites. But by morning his prospects had improved. Within two weeks it was clear that Bailey would survive but would never be able to play again. The Bruins donated $8,000 to Bailey and his family and the NHL held a special game to benefit Bailey and his family, featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs playing at Maple Leaf Gardens against a group of star players selected from other NHL teams. The benefit game raised $20,000 for Bailey. This was the forerunner of what would become the Anuual NHL all star game.

As the all star players skated onto the ice they wore their individual teams jerseys and were then presented with their all star game jersey. The first player onto the ice was goaltender Charlie Gardiner who was given his jersey with number one. When Shore skated onto the ice in his Boston Bruins uniform, he was greeeted at center ice by Ace Bailey in street clothes. Bailey handed Shore his number 2 game jersey and extended his hand. When Shore clasped and shook Bailey's hand the Gardens crowd roared it's approval.

Shore was suspended for 16 games as a result of the incident. Bailey remained in the Leafs organization, serving as the timekeeper at Leafs games from 1938 until 1984. He passed away in 1992 at age 89.

On this date in hockey history, December 13, 1987, rookie Joe Nieuwendyk of the Calgary Flames scored four goals against the Buffalo Sabres. He became the first rookie in the modern NHL (post red line) to have two four goal games. Cully Wilson had a pair of four goal games duirng his initial NHL season in 1919-20 although he was hardly a true “rookie” having played three seasons in the NHA (NHL's predessor league) and four seasons with the seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA.

On this date in hockey history, December 14, 1929, Harold “Baldy” Cotton spoiled a history making appearance by the New York Rangers at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens by scoring a pair of overtime goals in Toronto's 7-6 victory. This waspossible because overtime was a ten minute period played in it's entriety, ie not sudden death. But the history making event was that the Rangers became the first team to travel to their game by airplane.

On this date in hockey history, December 14, 1974, the New York Rangers Greg Polis set a team record for most penalty minutes in one game with 33. The St. Louis Blues won the game 6-2. The two teams combined for 256 penalty minutes

On this date in hockey history, December 14, 1933, Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens scored his 247th goal, making him the NHL's career goal scoring leader as he passed Cy Denneny. Denneny had 245 goals in his first 259 games before finishing his career with only four goals in his final 66 games.

1943 - Boston's Bill Cowley had a goal and two assists to become the NHL's all-time leader in assists. He scored #258 to pass New York's Frank Boucher in a 4-3 win over Chicago. Cowley retired 4 years later with a record 353 career assists.

On this date in hockey history, December 14, 1968, Bobby Orr scored his first NHL hat trick at Boston Garden during a 10-5 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks.


On this date in hockey history, December 15, 1917, the first NHL game was played between the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Wanderers. This was an exhibition game to benefit the victims of the Halifax Explosion in which a munitions ship exploded in Halifax harbor Over 1,950 were killed, more than 9,000 were wounded. Every building within a ten mile radius, 12,000 in all, were destroyed. Thirty one thousand people were left homeless or lacking adequate housing. A 1994 study of major non nuclear explosions concluded that "Halifax Harbour remains unchallenged in overall magnitude as long as five criteria are considered together: number of casualties, force of blast, radius of devastation, quantity of explosive material and total value of property destroyed."


This date in hockey history, December 15 1983, the Philadelphia Flyers scored an NHL record three shorthanded goals in one period during a 9-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. Mark Howe, Ilka Sinisalo and Miroslave Dvorak each scored a shortie during the second period.





On this date in hockey history, December 15, 1915, Art Jackson was born in Toronto, Ontario. Art was the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs Hall of Famer Harvey “Busher” Jackson. Art played with his brother on the Leafs from the 1934-35 season to 1936-37. He played for the New York Americans in 1937-38, then the Boston Bruins from 1939-40 to 1940-45 before finishing his career back with the Leafs in 1945-46 where he played on a Stanley Cup winner for his hometown team. He also won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 1941. Art centered the Leafs “Cyclone Line” with Nick Metz and Bob Davidson.

Happy birthday to the NHL's offside rule, drafted on this date in hockey history, December 16, 1929. Hockey had originally been played like rugby with no forward passing allowed anywhere on the playing surface forcing players to caary the puck in order to move it forward. In 1905 the Ontario Hockey Association began allowing defensemen to play the puck forward from rebounds within three feet of the goaltender. Some ice surfaces had a black line painted on the ice at the three foot distance. To promote scoring, the NHL allowed forward passing in the defensive and neutral zones in 1927 but scoring remained low. In 1928-29 the NHL allowed forward passing in the attacking zone and scoring doubled almost immediately as players would position themselves in front of the opposition goal and wait until a teamamte stickhandled over the offensive blue line then passed the puck down low to the player at the net. The league decided that too much scoring was undesireable and instituted the new rule during the season to cut down on these “easier” goals.

On this date in hockey history, December 16, 1950, the Montreal Canadiens debuted two future Hall Of Fame players Jean Beliveau and Bernie Geoffrion in a 1-1 tie with the New York Rangers with Geoffrion scoring Montreal's only goal in his NHL debut.

On this date in hockey history, December 16, 1981, Dave Lumley of the Edmonton Oilers scored a goal in his 12th consecutive game going 2-2-4 during a 7-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Lumley scored 15 goals during the streak. This was one game fewer than the NHL record at the time held by Charlie Simmer (13 games) as Lumley filled in as a winger on Wayne Gretzky's line.

On this date in hockey history, December 17, 1977, rookie defenseman Barry Beck of the Colorado Rockies scored a hat trick and added an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. He scored 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points as a rookie, including a stretch of six consecutive games with a goal. The 22 goals was a rookie record for defensemen until Brian Leetch scored 23 in 1988-89.

On this date in hockey history, December 17, 1977, the Hartford Whalers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 for their first NHL shutout away from home. Mike Veisor earned the shutout.

On this date in hockey history, December 17, 1977, Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Quebec Nordiques 8-1. Gretzky scored one goal and adding five assists for six points in his 352nd career game. These included his 500th assist and 800th point, an amazing pace of 2.27 points per game.

On this date in Buffalo Sabres history, December 17, 1990, the struggling Sabres (10-15-7) traded Mike Foligno to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Brian Curran and Lou Franschetti. Foligno played 663 games over ten seasons with the Sabres and became a fan favorite scoring 247 goals and 511 points. He earned a reputation as a player who stood up for himself and his teammates, piling up a then team record 1,450 penalty minutes for the blue and gold. Foligno was the team captain when he was traded, having been named captain on February 15, 1989. Foligno only scored 27 goals for Toronto in 129 games but scored twice against the Sabres at Maple Leaf Gardens on January 14, 1991. I wonder if Leafs fans found it as unusual watching Rick Vaive playing for Buffalo that bnight as it looked to see Foligno in a Maple Leafs uniform.

On this date in hockey history, December 18, 1983, Wayne Gretzky had a pair of goals to go along with two assists in an Edmonton Oilers 7-5 victory against the Winnipeg Jets. That sounds like just another day at the office for Wayne as he hit 100 points for the season in his 34th game. That's right, 100 points in only 34 games. In todays NHL standings there are only two teams with 100 goals, Montreal with 101 in 33 games and Dallas with 108 in 32 games.

On this date in hockey history, December 18, 1952, Jean Beliveau and Bernie Geoffrion each scored a ht trick at the Montreal Forum during Montreal's 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers. This was Beliveau's first three goal game, and Geoffrion's second.





On this date in hockey history, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard scored his 400th career goal in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks He was the first NHL player to reach that milestone.
On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 18, 1965, Bob Pulford and Dave Keon each scored three goals in an 8-4 victory over the New York Rangers. This was the first and only time two Maple Leaf players had hat tricks in the same game.




On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, December 18, 1971, the Leafs signed free agent goalie Gord McRae. McRae had played three seasons at Michigan Tech from 1967-68 to 1969-70. He worked his way up from the EHL to the AHL Providence Reds before settling in with Toronto's CHL farm team the Tulsa Oilers. He played a total of 71 games in the NHL from 1972-73 to 1977-78, all with the Leafs as he was yanked up and down from the minors. His biggest impact in the NHL was in the 1974-75 season when he played 20 games with a 3.29 GAA going 13-3-6 and 2-5 with a 2.86 GAA in the playoffs including a first round upset over the Los Angeles Kings who had finished the regulat season with 105 points, 27 more than the Leafs 78. When McRae posed for the 1977-78 team picture with a beard, the Leafs owner Harold Ballard had McRae's head removed from the picture and replaced with Gord Shervens clean shaven head from the previous season.

On this date in hockey history, December 19, 1984, Scotty Bowman was behind the bench when the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 to set a record for most victories by a coach with his 691st win. Of course that record was broken by Scotty Bowman himself who finished his career with 1,248 victories.

On this date in hockey history, December 19, 1984, Wayne Gretzky reached 1,000 career points with a six point game on home ice against the Los Angeles Kings, going 2-4-6. He set a record by accumulating 1,000 career points in only 424 games, breaking Guy Lafleur's previous mark by 296 games. Lafleur had reached 1,000 points in 724 games.

On this date in hockey history, December 19, 1967, Gary “Suitcase” Smith was beaten for two goals by his brother Brian Smith who led the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Seals. While at first glance, Gary Smith is the more familiar player to most, Brian smith was a significant figure in 1960's hockey and his tragic end was shocking.

Smith played for the Memorial Cup in 1960 with the Brockville Canadiens and played in the EPHL from 1960-63 with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens. When he was acquired by the Springfield Indians in 1963 he refused to report because of coach Eddie Shore's reputation for poor treatment of his players. Smith played in Austria but was suspended by the IIHF beacsue he hadn't obtained a release. So he was forced to play for Springfiled from 1964-67 where he and Bill White started Alan Eagleson on his career in hockey by strking against Shore in 1966 with Eagleson representing the players.

Shore was forced to sell the team to Jack Kent Cooke the owner of the expansion Los Angeles Kings and Smith suited up in 1967 as one of the original Kings. He played for Phoenix in the WHL then with the Minnesota North Stars in 1968-69 and finished his playing career with the WHA Houston Aeros in 1972-73. Smith then became a sports broadcaster with CJOH TV in Ottawa where he anchored the 6 PM news until 1995.

On August 1 1985 Smith was shot in the station parking lot by a paranoid schizophrenic who believed that the station had been broadcasting messages in his head.. Smith's death stunned the community. He was honored by the Ottawa Senators who renamed the press box at their home rink Canadien Tire Center the “Brian 'Smitty' Smith Press Box” and the team wore a memorial patch honoring Smith during the 1995-96 season.

On this date in hockey history, December 19, 1985, Larry Robinson scored the only hat trick of his NHL career during a 5-4 Montreal Canadiens loss to the Quebec Nordiques.

On this date in NHL history, December 19, 1917, the National Hockey League played it's first two games. Dave Ritchie scored the first goal in NHL history one minute into the game as his Montreal Wanderers defeated the Toronto Hockey Club 7-4. Joe Malone scored five goals and an assist for the Montreal Canadiens including Montreal's first ever NHL goal in a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators in the other opening day game.



On this day in hockey history, December 19th 1917, the NHL kicked off it's inaugural season with it's first two games as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 7-4, and the Montreal Wanderers defeated Toronto 10-9.
The first goal in NHL history was scored by Wanderers' defenseman Dave Ritchie one minute into the NHL's first game. Montreal's Joe Malone scored five goals and an assist as the Canadiens defeated the Senators 7-4.
The Toronto team played without a nickname that season but became known as the Arenas in the because they were operated by the Toronto Arena Company operators of the Toronto Arena Gardens which also served as their home rink for two years until they were sold and renamed the St. Pats for the 1919-20 season.
Ironically the Toronto Arena was built and operated by the principals of the Canadian Arena Company, who also owned the Montreal Arena the home rink of the Montreal Canadiens. William Northey of the Montreal group and other would later build the Montreal Forum and found the Forums original NHL tenant the Montreal Maroons, eventually also owning the Canadiens.
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On this day in hockey history, December 20th 1964, Bobby Hull was on a goal a game pace after he scored during the Black Hawks 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins to give him 28 goals in 28 games Hull continued his hot streak with 32 goals in 35 games but slowed down by injuries he only scored 4 goals in his remaining 26 games and finished with 39 goals in 61 games.
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On this day in hockey history, December 20th 1983, Guy Lafleur became

the third player in franchise history to score 500 goals as a member of the

Montreal Canadiens when he notches a single tally in the Habs 6-0 victory

at the Meadowlands against the New Jersey Devils. Steve Shutt scored his

400th goal as a Hab in the same game.


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This day in hockey history, December 20th 1987 - Dale Hawerchuk of the Winnipeg Jets became the 25th player in NHL history to play in 400 straight

games when he stepped into the ice during Winnipeg's 4-1 win over the new

Jersey Devils.. Since his rookie season of 1981-82, he had missed only one

game, that due to an ankle injury.


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On this day in hockey history, December 20th 1981, Doug Smail set an NHL record for fastest goal from the start of a game, with a goal just five seconds

into the Winnipeg Jets' 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. This record was

later tied by Bryan Trottier and Alex Mogilny.


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Back when goal scoring in the NHL was encouraged, on December 20th 1985, Jari Kurri scored four goals with Wayne Gretzky getting six helpers in a 9-4 Edmonton Oilers' victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Northlands Coliseum.
One year later back in Edmonton, December 20th 1986, Bernie Nicholls scores the tying goal with 34 seconds remaining and the goalie pulled for a sixth attacker as the Kings rallied from a four-goal deficit in the final 9:14 of the third period to earn an 8-8 tie.


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On this day in hockey history, December 20th 1979, the Los Angeles Kings

lost 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres at the Aud in Buffalo. Charlie Simmer scored

for the Kings for the 11th straight game, setting a new modern NHL record.

He finished his streak with goals in 13 consecutive games. Punch Broadbent

had goals in 16 straight games in 1922 but Simmers record was accomplished

in the post red line era, considered the "Modern NHL."


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On this day in hockey history, December 20th December 20 1979, Behn

Wilson scored the tying goal with 4:08 remaining as the Flyers tied the

Pittsburgh Penguins 1-1 for their 28th straight game without a loss (19-0-9), matching the record for the longest undefeated streak of all time. The Flyers extended the record to 35 games (25-0-10).


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On this day in hockey history, December 21st 1977, Butch Goring received a minor penalty for slashing during an 8-1 victory by the Los Angeles Kings over the Minnesota North Stars.
This was his first and only penalty of the 80 games he played that season. And it's not like he was avoiding the action as he tallied 37 goals and 36 assists for 73 points.
And that wasn't unusual for Goring as he tallied only a single minor penalty for the Kings for three consecutive seasons, 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1973-74.
Those were wild seasons for Goring compared to his 1980-81 season when he had exactly zero penalty minutes in 80 games for the New York Islanders while tallying 60 points on 23 goals and 37 assists.
Goring played 1107 NHL games with only 102 penalty minutes, an average of .092 penalty minutes per game. Only Dave Keon posted a cleaner record of penalty free play with 1296 games with only 117 penalty minutes for .0903 penalty minutes per game.
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Below is a chart of Goring career statistics. Please note the many single digit numbers in the PIM column.
                                          GP G A PTS PIM
1966-67 Winnipeg Rangers MJHL 0 35 31 66 2
1967-68 Canadian National Team 0 0 0 0 0
1967-68 Canadian National Team 0 0 0 0 0
1968-69 Winnipeg Jets WCHL 36 42 33 75 0
1969-70 Springfield Kings AHL 19 13 7 20 0
1969-70 Los Angeles Kings NHL 59 13 23 36 8
1970-71 Los Angeles Kings NHL 19 2 5 7 2
1970-71 Los Angeles Kings NHL 19 2 5 7 2
1971-72 Los Angeles Kings NHL 74 21 29 50 2
1972-73 Los Angeles Kings NHL 67 28 31 59 2-
1973-74 Los Angeles Kings NHL 70 28 33 61 2
1974-75 Los Angeles Kings NHL 60 27 33 60 6
1975-76 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 33 40 73 8
1976-77 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 30 55 85 6
1977-78 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 37 36 73 2
1978-79 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 36 51 87 16
1979-80 Los Angeles Kings NHL 69 20 48 68 12

1979-80 New York Islanders NHL 12 6 5 11 2
1980-81 New York Islanders NHL 78 23 37 60 0
1981-82 New York Islanders NHL 67 15 17 32 10
1982-83 New York Islanders NHL 75 19 20 39 8
1983-84 New York Islanders NHL 71 22 24 46 8
1984-85 New York Islanders NHL 29 2 5 7 2
1984-85 Boston Bruins NHL        39 13 21 34 6

1986-87 Nova Scotia Oilers AHL  10  3    5 8  2



On this day in hockey history, December 21st 1979, Garry Unger's NHL

record for consecutive games played streak ended at 914, as his Atlanta

Flames lost 5-1 to the St. Louis Blues at the arena in St. Louis.
Unger had been prepared for the end of his streak by his coach, AI McNeil.

“It's the coach's decision,” said Unger. “We haven't been playing well. The

coach felt the game was more important than the streak, and do I. It's difficult

to play hurt, in fact, it's difficult enough to play when you're healthy."
Unger had played 622 games of that streak with St. Louis. He had played

sparingly for the Flames since suffering a dislocated shoulder against the

Winnipeg Jets on December 9th.but took the ice for at least one shift in the

four games since then, keeping the streak alive.
Unger had stood up twice in the last minute of the game as if he were ready to

get on the ice. At one point Guy Chouinard skated to the bench yelling

"Ungie", "Ungie" for Unger to replace him. as Unger stood up it appeared

that he was restrained by coach Al McNeil who appeared to reach out and

grab Unger's jersey to keep him on the bench. Ungers streak had begun

February 24th 1968 as a Toronto Maple Leaf.


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On this day in hockey history, December 21st 1972 Boston's Bobby Orr set a new NHL record for career points by a defenseman in his 423rd game with an assist for his 541st point in 8-1 win over Detroit Red Wings. Doug Harvey held the previous record, with 540 points in 1,113 games. Orr averaged 1.3 PPG, Harvey averaged 0.5 PPG,
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On this day in Buffalo Sabres history, December 21st 1975, the Sabres set a

team record for most goals in a single game while handing the Washington

Capitals the worst beating in team history in a 14-2 victory at the Aud in

Buffalo. The Sabres doubled their scoring in each period, with a pair of goals

in the first period, four in the second and eight in the third. Gilbert Perreault

started the assault at 2:57 of the first period. The Sabres outshot the Caps 10-4

in the first, and held a 2-0 lead going into the second. Tony White scored for Washington at the 23-second mark to halve the Buffalo lead. But Buffalo

scored three more times before the Caps notched their second goal. The Sabres outshot the Caps 18-9 in the second. Things really got ugly in the third. Craig Ramsay’s goal at the 56-second mark  gave Buffalo a 7-2 lead. It was the first

of six goals the Sabres would score in a span of 8:42. Inclu-2 lead. It was the

first of six goals the Sabres would score  in a span of 8:42. Included in that

spree were Rick Martin’s third and fourth goals of the game. Fred Stanfield

closed out the scoring at 18:11 with his third  goal of the game, thus marking

the first time the Capitals had permitted a pair of hat tricks in the same game. Buffalo outshot Washington 22-3 in the third and 50-16 for the game. Only

three of the 17 Buffalo skaters who dressed failed to record a point that night. Apparently the beat down was so discouraging to Tommy Williams of  the

Capitals that he retired three days later.


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Happy birthday to the vertical striped referee jerseys. On December 29th 1955 in a game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL officials wore new vertically striped black and white sweaters for the first time. The Canadiens won the game 5-2.


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A sad day in Toronto Maple Leafs history on December 29th 1979, as GM

Punch Imlach's escalating feud with Darryl Sittler precipitated his trade of

Lanny McDonald and Joel Quenneville to the Colorado Rockies in exchange

for Pat Hickey and Wilf Paiement. While Hickey and Paiement were good

players, Lanny was beloved by the Leafs fans and a close friend of Sittler and winger on his line. This trade marked the beginning of the end of a strong

Leafs team in the late 1970's.


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This day in hockey history, December 29th 1992, the Los Angeles Kings took

a 2-0 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers, then the Flyers scored 10 unanswered goals to win 10-2 Rod Brind’Amour had three goals and three assists for six

points and his first NHL hattrick.


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This day in hockey history, December 29th 1945, Maurice Richard scored

twice in a 5-4 loss to the Black Hawks to record his 100th career goal. And he reached the mark in just 145 games, the fastest in history. That mark has since

been broken by Mike Bossy, who reached 100 goals in 129 games. Wayne

Gretzky missed out on this record as did Teemu Selanne, who scored 76 goals

in his rookie season (84 games), but had just 25 in 56 games in his sophomore season.


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On this day in hockey history, December 29th 1984, the Edmonton Oilers

defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 with Wayne Gretzky scoring his 32nd

career hat trick and and three assists for six pointys, he was in on every Oilers

goal, reach 100 points in only his 35th game. But this was only the second

fastest 100 points in NHL history because Wayne did it in only 34 games in

the previous season. Of course this was back when scoring goals, not blocking shots, was the leagues primary form of entertainment.


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This day in World Junior Hockey Championship history, December 30th 1992, Peter Forsberg set a tournament record with 10 points in a single game during

a 20-1 victory by Sweden against Japan. Japan was outscored 83 to 9 in seven games. Forsberg ended the tournament with a record 31 points in seven games

but Sweden only finished second.


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