You Gotta Know These Hockey Hall of Famers
Wayne Gretzky (1961- ) Born in Brantford, Ontario, "The Great One" was named Canada's athlete of the century. Gretzky holds or shares 61 NHL records, including career goals (894), assists (1,963), and points (2,857). The winner of ten scoring titles (Art Ross Trophies) and nine NHL MVP's (Hart Trophies), his #99 was retired league wide. He won four Stanley Cups with Edmonton in the 1980s before a major trade sent him to Los Angeles in 1988. After a brief stint in St. Louis, he would finish career with New York Rangers in 1999.
Gordie Howe (1926- ) Born in Floral, Saskatchewan, "Mr. Hockey," was equally adept with his stick as he was with his fists. A "Gordie Howe hat trick" was later joked to consist of a goal, an assist, and a fight in a game. A six-time Art Ross Trophy winner, he played 26 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, retiring in 1971. After a two-year retirement, he returned to the fledgling WHA, to play with his sons on the Houston Aeros. He played his last NHL season at the age of 52 in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers, finishing as the NHL's career points leader until 1989.
Mario Lemieux (1965-) Born in Montreal, Quebec: "Super Mario" scored his first NHL goal on the first shift of his first game, against Boston in 1984. He led the Pittsburgh Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cups in 1991-92. After a bout with Hodgkin's disease, he returned to lead the NHL in scoring in 1995-96 and 1996-97. He then later helped bail the Penguins out of bankruptcy by becoming the lead owner of the team in 1999.
Bobby Orr (1948-) Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Bobby Orr revolutionized the position of defenseman. The first blue liner to win the Art Ross Trophy (scoring title), he also won the Norris (best defenseman), Hart (league MVP), and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) in the same season (1969-70). That same year, he led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in three decades with the now famous "Goal." He recorded the highest +/- rating ever for a single season, +124 in 1970-71 and won eight straight Norris Trophies from 1968-75. Unfortunately, his bad knees forced him into early retirement in 1979.
Maurice Richard (1921-2000) Born in Montreal, Quebec, "The Rocket" was one of the most gifted offensive players in NHL history. He was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a single season, doing so in 1944-45, and also the first to score 500 in a career. The winner of eight Stanley Cups, his suspension by league president Clarence Campbell in 1955 led to "The Richard Riot" on March 17, 1955, which was quelled only by an appeal by Richard for peace. Many sociologists credit the Richard Riot with starting the Quebec independence movement. The NHL began awarding the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1999 for the league's top regular season goal scorer.
Terry Sawchuk (1929-1970) Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, "Ukey" played more games (971), won more games (447), and recorded more shutouts (103) than any other netminder in NHL history. In 1952, he recorded eight straight wins, including four shutouts, in the playoffs for Detroit. Winning 5 Vezina Trophies in his career for lowest team GAA (the criteria during his era), Sawchuk also won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 1950-51. Always deeply psychologically troubled, he died in a household accident in 1970 while a member of the New York Rangers.
Ken Dryden (1947-) Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he had a standout career at Cornell University before joining the Montreal Canadiens organization in 1970. In 1970-71, he starred in the playoffs, winning Conn Smythe Trophy honors (playoff MVP), before going on to win Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) honors the next season. Along with Tony Esposito, he served as Canada's goalie during the legendary 1972 Summit Series with the USSR. He sat out the entire 1973-74 season in a contract dispute, and worked as a legal clerk and obtaining his law degree from McGill. He currently serves as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vladislav Tretiak (1952-) Born in Moscow, USSR; Tretiak is first Russian player in Hockey Hall of Fame. He came to North American prominence when he starred in 1972 Summit Series against Canada. A 10-time World Champion, he also won three gold medals (1972, 1976, and 1984). The decision to pull Tretiak after the first period of the U.S./USSR game in the 1980 Olympics is considered to be part of the reason the U.S. went on to win the gold. He played for CSKA Moscow (Central Red Army) for 15 years and, since his retirement, he now serves as the goaltending coach for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bobby Hull (1939-) Born in Point Anne, Ontario; "The Golden Jet" was the star of the Chicago Blackhawks of the 1960s, he won three Art Ross Trophies and led the NHL in goals seven times. In June of 1972, he defected to the fledgling WHA's Winnipeg Jets for a record 10-year, $2.75 million deal, where he would star and help make Winnipeg one of the four WHA teams to merge with the NHL in 1978-79. He is also the father of Brett Hull and the duo is the only father-son combination to score 500 each in NHL history.
Eddie Shore (1902-1985) Born in Fort Qu'Appele, Saskatchewan, "The Edmonton Express" is the epitome of "Old-Time Hockey," as stated in the 1977 film Slap Shot. As a blue liner for the Boston Bruins he was named a first team NHL All-Star for eight of nine years during the 1930s and is the only defenseman to win 4 Hart Trophies as NHL MVP. He later went on to be the owner/GM of the AHL's Springfield Indians and the anecdotes about his stingy ways are now hockey lore.