Today in Hockey History: Jan 15

The list of players who had big days on Jan. 15 reads like who’s who of the Hockey Hall of Fame. This was a huge date for defensemen as well as some of the greatest to ever play in Chicago. Let’s begin our daily trip back in time through the years of National Hockey League history.

Important Date for Trophy Namesakes

Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby was born on Jan. 15, 1841, in London England. He was appointed the sixth Governor General of Canada in 1888 and held that position until 1893. His two sons became hockey players and played in amateur leagues in Ottawa. In 1892, he donated the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup as the trophy to be given out to the country’s best amateur team. It became a trophy contested by professional teams exclusively in 1909. It eventually became known as Lord Stanley’s Cup, perhaps the most famous trophy in all of sports.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 2020 Stanley Cup
The namesake of the Stanley Cup, being hoisted by Steven Stamkos, was born on this date in 1841. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jan. 15, 1968, was a much sadder day. Minnesota North Stars forward Bill Masterton died two days after suffering a head injury in a game against the Oakland Seals. It was the only death as a result of a game injury in the history of the NHL. Since the end of the 1967-68 season, the league has given out the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” Some of the former winners include Bobby Clarke, Henri Richard, Lanny McDonald, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

Blueliners Rule the Day

Tim Horton became the first defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs history to score 100 career goals, on Jan. 15, 1969, in a 5-5 tie against the visiting Boston Bruins. Three years later, he had four assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bobby Orr set up two goals, on Jan. 15, 1970, during the Burins’ 6-3 defeat of the visiting Los Angeles Kings. This gave him 51 assists on the season, setting a league record for the most by a defenseman in a single season. He broke the old record of 50 set in the previous season by Pat Stapleton of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Staying in Boston, on Jan. 15, 1987, Reed Larson scored twice to become the first U.S.-born player and sixth defenseman to pick up 200 NHL goals. He scored a pair of power-play goals to help the Bruins beat the Hartford Whalers 6-4. His fellow blueliner, Ray Bourque picked up his 400th career assist.

Raymond Bourque Boston Bruins
Bourque recorded his 400th career assist on this date. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Paul Coffey scored a goal, on Jan. 15, 1991, to become the Penguins’ all-time scoring leader among defensemen with 344 points. He broke the previous record held by Ron Stackhouse in a 5-4 loss at the Flyers.

On Jan. 15, 1994, Al MacInnis became the first defenseman in Calgary Flames’ franchise history to score 200 goals. He also picked up a pair of assists in a 10-0 blowout of the Ottawa Senators.

Scott Niedermayer had an assist, on Jan. 15, 2003, to become just the second defenseman in New Jersey Devils history to score 400 career points. Martin Brodeur picked up his 60th career shutout in a 5-0 win over the visiting New York Islanders.

Hall of Fame Moments

Rookie goaltender Terry Sawchuk recorded his first career NHL shutout, on Jan. 15, 1950, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the New York Rangers 1-0. He retired with 103 career shutouts, which was a league record until Brodeur passed him up in 2009.

Maurice Richard played in his milestone 700th career game, on Jan. 15, 1955, and scored two goals in a 4-3 Montreal Canadiens’ loss to the Red Wings.

Wayne Gretzky scored a goal and added five assists, on Jan. 15, 1983, as the Edmonton Oilers extended their team-record road undefeated streak to eight straight games (7-0-1) with a 10-4 win at the North Stars.

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Gretzky had a pair of big games on Jan. 15. (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Three years later, Gretzky had two goals and an assist in a 4-1 Oilers’ win at the Whalers. Goaltender Andy Moog picked up the victory to push his personal unbeaten streak to 17 games (14-0-3).

Rookie Patrick Roy earned the first shutout of his career, on Jan. 15, 1986, by leading the Canadiens to a 4-0 win versus the Winnipeg Jets. He made 19 saves for the first of his 66 career shutouts. Stephane Richer was the offensive leader with a pair of goals.

Mark Messier notched his 700th NHL assist and goaltender Grant Fuhr played in his 300th career game, on Jan. 15, 1988, as the Oilers and Jets skated to a 4-4 tie.  

Exactly one year later, Steve Yzerman scored a goal and added three assists in a Red Wings 8-4 win at the Flyers. His assist on Paul MacLean’s goal just 1:06 into the contest gave him his 500th career point in his 400th game.

Dave Andreychuk became the third player in Buffalo Sabres’ franchise history to score 300 goals, on Jan. 15, 1992. He also had five assists in an 8-8 tie with the Devils.

Eric Lindros scored a goal and had two assists, on Jan. 15, 1996, to reach 300 career points, John LeClair scored his 100th NHL goal, on his way to 51 that season, as the Flyers won 6-1 over the visiting Dallas Stars.

Eric Lindros
Lindros picked up his 300th NHL point. (Credit: Steve Babineau/Allsport)

Martin St. Louis scored three goals in the first period, on Jan. 15, 2004, and Andreychuk became the 25th NHL player to score 1,300 career points, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4.

Windy City Memories

Goaltender Chuck Gardiner of the Blackhawks beat the Bruins 2-0, on Jan. 15, 1931, for a team-record fourth straight shutout and 20th of his career.

Chicago acquired All-Star Earl Seibert from the Rangers, on Jan. 15, 1936, in exchange for Art Coulter in a swap of future Hall of Fame defensemen. Seibert played the next 10 seasons with the Blackhawks and helped them win the 1938 Stanley Cup. Coulter spent his final seven seasons in New York and was part of their 1940 championship team.

Netminder Denis DeJordy recorded his fourth career shutout, on Jan. 15, 1967, and Phil Esposito picked up three assists in a 4-0 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Five years later, on Jan. 15, 1972, Bobby Hull became the first player to appear in 1,000 games as a member of the Blackhawks, in a 4-2 loss at the Bruins.

Hull is a legend in Chicago. (THW Archives)

On Jan. 15, 1984, the Blackhawks beat the Penguins 2-0 at Chicago Stadium. The 35-save effort led to the 76th shutout and 423rd and final victory in the Hall of Fame career of goaltender Tony Esposito. He finished with 418 wins and 74 shutouts with the Blackhawks after spending one season with the Canadiens.

Finally, on Jan. 15, 2016, Patrick Kane scored three goals to lead Chicago to a 4-1 win at the Maple Leafs. The win was the Blackhawks’ 10th in a row and Kane took over the league lead in points with 67. Surprisingly, this was his first regular-season hat trick in 623rd games. He had two previous had tricks during the 2009 and 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Odds & Ends

Terry Young had a six-point night, on Jan. 15, 1979, with five goals and an assist in the North Stars’ 8-1 road win at the Rangers. This was the first of two hat tricks in his 10-season NHL career.

Washington Capitals fired Bryan Murray, on Jan. 15, 1990, who had been their head coach since November of 1981. He was replaced by his younger brother Terry, the head coach of the Caps’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Staying behind the bench, on Jan. 15, 1992, Pat Quinn recorded his 250th career head coaching victory by leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win in Edmonton.

Pat Quinn
Quinn earned his 250th win on this date (THW Archives)

Rookie Patrick Lalime picked up his third shutout in just 15 career games, on Jan. 15, 1997, as he led the Penguins to a 3-0 win over the Whalers. His 13-0-2 start to his career was the best by any goaltender in NHL history. Lemieux picked up an assist on all three goals.

Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves, on Jan. 15, 1999, in the first-year Nashville Predators’ 2-0 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. This was not only his first career shutout but it was also the first in the 42-game history of the franchise.

Happy Birthday to You

A talented group of 23 current and former NHL players were born on Jan. 15. The most notable birthday boys include Willie Huber (63), Adam Burt (52), Brett Lebda (39), Mason Appleton (25) and Marcus Necas (22).


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