Remarkable moments don’t come often, especially in a community of energized players that chug on in the roughest conditions.
But here are five events in the history of the NHL that we won’t forget in a long time.
1.Gordie Howe Exceeds Maurice Richard’s Record
Gordie Howe became NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Maurice Richard, on November 10, 1963. It was the 545th goal of Mr. Hockey’s career. And the record-breaking goal came during a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Gordie Howe remained NHL’s highest goal scorer for thirty-one years! That was before Wayne Gretzky seized the baton in 1994.
2.Plante Wears a Mask
Though it’s hard to find a goalie without a mask these days, it was not so before November 1, 1959. On that day, Jacques Plante was shot in the face by the Rangers’ Andy Bathgate.
After a few stitches, Plante refused to play without a mask. And since there were no backup goalies to replace him, he was allowed to wear a mask. The match ended in a victory for Plante’s team. And to date, NHL goalies wear their masks.
3.Richard is 50 in 50
On March 18, 1945, Maurice Richard became the first player in the NHL history to net 50 goals in a season. He hit this number on the last day of the 1944-1945 season, in a 4-2 Montreal victory over the Boston Bruins. The goal went past Harvey Bennett, the Bruins’ goalie.
Although the length of games in a season has been extended beyond 50, the 50 in 50 record became a standard for goal scorers. Richard was further honored for this feat when NHL created “The Rocket Richard Trophy,” an award for the highest goal scorer in a season.
4.Gretzky is 50 in 39
After Richard set the 50 in 50 record in 1945 and Mike Bossy matched it in the 1980-1981 season, Wayne Gretzky went on to destroy the record in the next season by attaining 50 goals in 39 games.
He scored five goals in a 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on December 30, 1981. At the end of the season, Wayne Gretzky had scored 92 goals in total. His 92 goal record remains unbroken to date.
5.Wayne Gretzky Becomes NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd goal on March 23, 1994, passing Gordie Howe to become NHL’s leading scorer of all-time. This goal came during a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks hosted at the “Fabulous Forum.” And Kirk McLean was at the receiving end of the shot.
None of the other top NHL players has come close to this record since then.
These incredible moments in NHL history exist, thanks to the hard work and dedication of these men. Hopefully, a few years down the line, we can experience notable moments and life-changing events that make hockey memorable. We would not need to look far into NHL History books to find moments worth celebrating.