This Day In Hockey History (With Interesting Facts)

Knowing the history of hockey is both educational and interesting. In this article, I will show you some major events that happened on the most important dates in the history of the sport. 

Let’s have a look back at what happened on this day in hockey history.

This Day In Hockey History

March 3, 1875

The first indoor game of ice hockey was played in Montreal, Canada. At the time, hockey was considered an amateur game but quickly became a competitive sport going forward.

December 2, 1909 – The beginning

This is one of the most famous days in hockey history. The National Hockey Association or NHA was born. Formed in Montreal, Canada, the initial 2 teams were the Montreal Wanderers and the Montreal Canadiens. The NHA became the NHL in 1917 after a few of the teams suspended the NHA and formed their own league.

Jan 2, 1918

In a day that almost ended the NHL, the Montreal Arena burned down due to a fire in the ice-making plant. This caused over $150,000 in damages and forced the team to move to the Jubilee arena which ended up catching fire the next year.

October 1, 1919

The Toronto St.Patricks joined the NHL as the previous team known as the Toronto Arenas had withdrawn from the league partway through the 1918-19 NHL season.

November 1, 1924

The first hockey team from the USA to join the NHL is the Boston Bruins. The first NHL game ever played in the USA was exactly one month later on December 1, 1924, when the Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Maroons by a score of 2-1.

February 20, 1926

In one of the most famous games played at the time, the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens skated to a 0-0 draw in the league’s second-ever 0-0 tie game. 

January 21, 1930

The first NHL hockey team to record 100 goals in a season was the Boston Bruins who accomplished this feat in the first 26 games played of the season.

March 16, 1939

The New York Rangers and New York Americans set the record for the most goals scored in one period with 10. The Rangers had 7 and the Americans had 3 in the third period of the game.

January 3, 1943

For the first time in history, 3 Chicago Blackhawks players who happen to be brothers, scored a point on the same goal. Reggie Bentley scored the goal while brothers Doug and Max were credited with the assists on the play.  

March 18, 1945

On this date, Maurice “rocket” Richard with the Montreal Canadiens became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in one season. 

March 23, 1952

The fastest hat trick (3 goals scored) in NHL history happened on this date when Bill Mosienko scored 3 goals in 21 seconds. 

January 18, 1958

Willie O’Ree became the first black player to play in the NHL. He was called up from the minor league to take the place of an injured player for the Boston Bruins.

June 5, 1963

The first-ever NHL amateur entry draft took place in Montreal, Canada. It was designed to assign junior players who were unaffiliated to NHL teams. Players as young as 16 were in the draft. 

June 6, 1967

The original 6 NHL teams played together from 1942 until 1967 when they were joined by 6 new teams to form a league of 12 teams.

Original 6 teams included:

  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Boston Bruins
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • New York Rangers

New teams to join the league included:

  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota North Stars
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • St. Louis Blues
  • California Seals

June 10, 1970

The NHL expansion draft was held and 2 new teams joined the league. The Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres were added, forming a 14 team league. 7 teams played in the East division and 7 played in the West. 

August 26, 1971

Arguably the best defenceman to ever play the game of hockey, Bobby Orr, signed the first-ever million-dollar contract. He signed a 5 year deal worth 1 million dollars with the Boston Bruins. 

October 9, 1974

The first NHL game played by the Washington Capitals was held against the New York Rangers in New York. They lost the game which began a record of 37 straight road game losses. 

February 2, 1977

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Ian Turnbull sets the record for the most goals scored by a defenceman in the same game with 5.

October 10, 1979

The best player in NHL history, Wayne Gretzky, played his first game for the Edmonton Oilers. The game took place in Chicago, where Gretzky picked up 1 assist in a 4-2 loss. 

January 7, 1980

The Philadelphia Flyers had a 35 game winning streak broken at the hands of the Minnesota North Stars. The game score was 7-1. It was the first loss for the Flyers in 86 days.

January 12, 1983

The Quebec Nordiques played in their 230th consecutive game while scoring at least one goal. The streak started on February 10, 1980, and ended on January 12, 1983. 

December 23, 1987

Goaltender Tom Barrasso became the youngest goalie in NHL history to record 100 wins. He was only 22 years old at the time. 

October 15, 1989

Wayne Gretzky added another record to his name becoming the NHL’s all-time leading scorer breaking Gordie Howe’s record. 

December 27, 1990

The Edmonton Oilers set the record for the fastest team to reach 500 wins. In only 915 games played, the Oilers had a record of 500 wins, 295 losses, and 120 ties. 

April 1, 1992

For the first time in history, NHL players go on strike. The strike lasts 10 days with the players gaining bonuses among many other contract changes.

March 2, 1995

Joe Mullen of the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first NHL player to appear in 300 games with 3 different teams. The other teams were the St. Louis Blues and the Calgary Flames. 

December 1, 1997

The Montreal Canadiens played in their 5000 NHL game which is the most in history.

The Hockey Hall Of Fame opened in Toronto, Canada on January 1, 1961.

April 18, 1999

Wayne Gretzky played in his final game in the NHL. He played for over 20 years with 4 different teams totaling 1487 games played. 

March 1, 2001

Carolina Hurricanes forward Ron Francis became only the second player in NHL history to score 50 or more points in 20 straight years. 

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January 21, 2004

The 2 fastest goals scored in NHL history were scored by Jim Dowd and Richard Park of the Minnesota Wild. The goals were scored just 3 seconds apart. 

July 30, 2005

The 2005 NHL entry draft was held on this date instead of the planned date of June 25 due to the 2004-2005 NHL lockout. The #1 pick in the draft was Sidney Crosby by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

June 12, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 with Evgeni Malkin winning the Conn Smythe trophy for the league’s MVP becoming the first Russian-born player to win the trophy.

June 28, 2012

The NHL announced a revision to the salary cap which increased the player’s salary amount by 5.9 million dollars per team. The new salary cap per franchise became 70.2 million dollars. 

October 12, 2016

The 2016-2017 NHL season is the 100th season of operation. 

September 28, 2020

The Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup and for the first time in NHL history, the Stanley Cup finals were held in one location due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All games were played in Edmonton Alberta, Canada with 0 fans in attendance.