December 10, 2013

Ten Hockey History Facts You Did Not Know

  1. December 9th, 1941. Boston's game against Chicago was delayed by 28 minutes as players and fans at Boston Gardens listened to President Franklin D. Roosevelt announce that the United States would enter World War II.
  2. Following the lead of Jacques Plante, Don Simmons was the second goalie to regularly wear a goalie mask.
  3. Forward Jerry Toppazzini was the last skater to play as a goalie in a NHL game. He replaced an injured Don Simmons in the final minute of a 5-2 loss to Chicago on October 16th, 1960. "Topper" did not wear any goaltending equipment and never faced a shot.
  4. Victor Nechaev was the first Soviet born and trained player to be given permission to play in the National Hockey League. He joined the Los Angeles Kings for a brief appearance early in the 1982-83 season.
  5. Steve Christoff, the former Minnesota North Star and 1980 US Olympic team member, was the model for the Hobey Baker Award. The award is presented annually to the top player in US college hockey. Christoff was a star at the University of Minnesota.
  6. The New York Islanders were the first NHL team to be invited to the White House. Ronald Reagan had them over to celebrate their 1983 Stanley Cup championship.
  7. The St. Louis Blues, coached by a young Scotty Bowman, made it to the Stanley Cup finals in each of their first three seasons in the NHL. Mind you, the NHL playoff format immediately following expansion from the Original Six to 12 teams assured one of the expansion markets would be in the Stanley Cup final at that time. St. Louis was the best the newcomers, but never won the Cup.
  8. Hockey Hall of Famer Syl Apps, arguably the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of all time, competed for Canada in the 1936 Olympics as a pole vaulter. He finished 6th.
  9. On January 21st, 1936 the NHL postponed the Toronto vs. Montreal match due to the death of King George V. It was the first memorial in NHL history.
  10. On March 16th, 1941 Chicago coach Paul Thompson became the first coach to pull his goalie for an extra attacker. Sam Lopresti was the goalie who left the ice.

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