10 Things You Never Knew About Hockey

From the THW Archives, written by former contributor Alli Baker and originally published Feb. 16, 2015.

So you think you know everything there is to know about hockey, eh? Well if you know more than half of these strange facts, you’re either a hockey buff or you’ve got 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 — 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.

Kris Draper, nicknamed the "one dollar man," won four Cups with the Red Wings over his 17 seasons. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Kris Draper, the “One Dollar Man,” won four Cups with the Red Wings over his 17 seasons. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

2. The Great One

You have to know Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leading points 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. The goal was scored against the Toronto Arenas.

4. Don’t Forget the Ladies

There are 12 women named 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 on the Cup.

5. The Millon 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 over that time and was well worth the money spent.

Bobby Orr

6. Size Doesn’t Matter

Roy Worters, the former goaltender for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Americans and Montreal Canadiens, is the shortest player to play in the NHL. Waters measured 5-foot-3 tall and played in 484 games from 1925-1937.

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On the other end of the spectrum, Boston Bruins’ defenceman Zdeno Chara is the tallest player to ever play in the NHL. The Slovak native stands at 6-foot-9 tall, a full foot-and-a-half taller than Waters.

7. The Earliest Puck

Rumor has it that the earliest hockey pucks were actually just frozen pieces of cow dung. I 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. 

8. 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 over 35 inches high.

9. Fastest Shot

Bobby Hull, the record-holder for the fastest slapshot, was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
Bobby Hull was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. (THW Archives)

Bobby Hull reportedly holds the record for the fastest slapshot ever recorded at 118 miles per hour, but that was back when technology wasn’t very sophisticated — his wristshot was clocked at 105 mph. 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.

The fastest slapshot recorded in modern times with modern technology was Zdeno Chara’s wicked 108.8 mph monster in 2012 at the All-Star Skills Competition.

Arguments can still be made that Al MacInnis had the hardest slapshot of all-time but his radar speeds were hampered by his use of a wooden stick instead of the composite versions everyone uses today.

10. Goalie Goals

Billy Smith, the former netminder for the New York Islanders, is the first goaltender to be credited with scoring a goal. Smith scored his goal 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 Flyer’s former goalie Ron Hextall is the second goaltender to score a goal, but the first to score by taking a shot of his own. Including Hextall and Smith, eleven goaltenders have scored goals in the NHL. Martin Brodeur has the most goals by a goaltender with three.

Well, there you have it. Now you’ve been educated on hockey history.

How many facts did you already know? Is there an interesting hockey fact that you know that wasn’t listed? Post it in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “10 Things You Never Knew About Hockey”

  1. Enjoyed the article. Going to pass this info to my son who just started enjoying a year ago and playing hockey (age 9). He will be really interested in the Goalie info – all about the goalies. (As he would say “Go Miller” no matter what team he plays for.)

  2. The guys guarding the Cup at the HoF pounted our the names of Glenn Sather’s parents. Completely uninvolved with the Oilers, their names are unceremoniously crossed out with capital XXXXXs.

  3. Eleven goaltenders have been *credited* with a goal, not all of them put a shot on goal. Brodeur has been credited with 3 goals, but only 1 goal is from when he took a shot. #10. Should be updated to represent that fact. Goalie may be credited with a goal, but not necessary they took a shot at goal. Just last to touch the puck before the opposing team got it

  4. you must be a detroit fan bc you conveniently left out Mike Smith’s goal against them….it was the same night the Detroit Tigers gave up a grand slam in the MLB Playoffs to lose…. just for reference. Go Hawks!

  5. Actually Marguerite Ann Norris was President of the Red Wings (1952-55). Her name appears on the cup for the years 1954 and 1955. Dave Ritchie’s teammate Harry Hyland scored four goals in that game. It was to be the Wanderers only win that season. The team would drop out Jan. 5, 1918 due to a fire at theirs and the Canadiens’ home arena. The Canadiens would go back to the Jubilee Arena. Oh yeah, Phantom Joe Malone would do one better than Hyland, scoring 5 goals on opening night 1917/18.

  6. If you are going to count Plasse as the first to be credited with a goal, you have to go with Darcy Walkaluk to be the first professional goalie to actually score a goal. Just before Hextall’s goal, Walkaluk scored on a shot while playing with the AHL Rochester Americans in a game against the Utica Devils.

  7. A side note to the One Dollar Man. Draper ended up costing the owner, Mike Ilitch nothing as Kris gave him the dollar back at one of the Cup celebrations.

  8. Hi thanks, nice article.

    Zdeno Chara is Slovak though — not Czech.

    Czechoslovakia, the place of his birth was composed of a Czech part and Slovak part: now the countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively.

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