So you think you know everything there is to know about hockey, eh? Well, these 10 things about hockey will set you straight. If you know more than half of these strange facts, you’re either a hockey buff or you’ve got way too much time on your hands.
1. One Dollar Man
In 1993, Kris Draper was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for just $1. This led to his nickname in Detroit as the “One Dollar Man.” Draper ended up being worth much more than a dollar, though. He went on to play 17 seasons with the Wings, playing 1137 games and racking up 158 goals over that period. Draper also won four Stanley Cups with Detroit in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.
2. The Great One
Whether you play hockey or not, you have to know that Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leading point-scorer in the NHL. But did you know The Great One would still hold this record even if he never scored a goal? Even without scoring once in his career, Gretzky racked up so many assists, he would still be the NHL’s all-time leading point-scorer. That’s a lot of assists!
3. The First Goal
The Montreal Wanderer’s Dave Ritchie scored the first official NHL goal on December 19, 1917, in a game against the Toronto Arenas.
4. Million-Dollar Man
In 1971, the Boston Bruins signed Bobby Orr to a five-year deal worth $200,000 per year. This was the first million-dollar contract signed in the NHL. Orr ended up scoring 181 goals during that period and was well worth the money spent.
5. Size Doesn’t Matter
Roy Worters, the former goaltender for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Americans and Montreal Canadiens, is the shortest player ever to play in the NHL. Waters measured 5′ 3″ tall and played in 484 games, from 1925-1937.
On the other end of the spectrum, Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara is the tallest player ever to play in the NHL. The Slovak native stands at 6′ 9″ tall, a full foot-and-a-half taller than Waters.
6. The Earliest Puck
Rumor has it that the earliest hockey pucks were actually just frozen pieces of cow dung (we think it’s safe to say we’re all thankful they came up with a better material for pucks). The modern version is made of vulcanized rubber, and is one inch thick and weighs between 5.5 and 6 ounces.
7. The Cup
The Stanley Cup was originally only seven inches tall. It is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the governor-general of Canada at the time. The Cup was awarded to the top-ranked amateur Canadian hockey team. The trophy is still awarded to the best team, but it now stands at over 35 inches high.
8. Don’t Forget the Ladies!
There are 12 women inscribed on the Stanley Cup, all of them being owners or team executives. Marguerite Norris, the president of the Detroit Red Wings from 1954-55, was the first woman to have her name engraved on the Cup.
Sonia Scurfield, the co-owner of the Calgary Flames in 1989, is the only Canadian woman to have her name etched on Lord Stanley’s silver chalice.
9. Quick Shot
Bobby Hull holds the record for the fastest slapshot ever recorded, at 118 miles per hour. Nicknamed “the Golden Jet,” Hull spent 23 seasons in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers.
10. Goalie Goals
Billy Smith, the former netminder for the New York Islanders, is the first goaltender to be credited with scoring a goal. That occurred on November 28, 1979.
Michel Plasse, former goaltender for the CHL’s Kansas City Blues, scored a goal on February 21, 1971, as well. So if you’re keeping track of all the different leagues, Plasse is technically the first.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ former goalie, Ron Hextall, is the second goaltender ever to score a goal, but the first to score by taking a shot of his own. Including Hextall and Smith, 11 goaltenders have scored goals in the NHL. Martin Brodeur has the most goals by a goaltender, with three.
How many of these 10 things about hockey facts do you know? Is there anything that isn’t listed here? Share it with us in the comments section below!
Reprinted with permission of The Hockey Writers.