Some of the best players of the 1990s were rewarded for their performances on this date. July 6 also saw several coaching changes, roster moves, and the birth of two players who left their mark on the game with brilliant National Hockey League careers.
1995 Postseason Awards
The NHL handed out their postseason awards on July 6, 1995, and some future Hockey Hall of Famers took home some coveted hardware. The day belonged to Eric Lindros of the Philadelphia Flyers. He became the first Flyer to win the Hart Trophy, for being voted by the writers as the league’s most valuable player, since Bobby Clarke in 1976.
Lindros also won the Lester B. Pearson Award for being the most outstanding player as voted on by his fellow players. This award is known today as the Ted Lindsay Award. He was named to the first All-Star team, as well.
Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring. He and Lindros tied for the most points, 70, during the lockout-shortened regular season, but Jagr got the nod for scoring three more goals than his rival in Philadelphia.
Peter Forsberg won the Calder Trophy, for being voted the league’s top rookie, as he scored 15 goals and 50 points for the Quebec Nordiques. Forsberg was part of the return when the Nordiques traded Lindros to the Flyers in 1992.
Other award winners from this date included Paul Coffey winning his third Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Dominik Hasek grabbing his second straight Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) and Ron Francis taking home the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward).
On July 6, 1978, the Flyers named Bob McCammon as their new head coach. He had the undaunted task of replacing Fred Shero, who led Philadelphia to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1975 and 1976. McCammon was replaced by Pat Quinn 50 games into the 1978-79 season. However, he returned for a second stint as head coach between 1982 and 1984, during which he also spent a little less than a year as general manager.
The Minnesota North Stars named Pierre Page their new head coach on July 6, 1988. He was the team’s fifth head coach in as many seasons, replacing Herb Brooks, who was fired the previous April. Page held the job for two seasons, losing in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of them.
Marc Crawford was hired as the new Nordiques head coach on July 6, 1994, oddly enough, replacing Page. In his first season, he won the Jack Adams Award for being the top coach by going 30-13-5 during the 48-game regular season. The team relocated and became the Colorado Avalanche the following season, and Crawford led them to the 1996 Stanley Cup championship.
Odds & Ends
The Boston Bruins signed undrafted free agent Geoff Courtnall on July 6, 1983, after a successful junior career in the Western Hockey League. He played the first 259 NHL games of his 17-season career with the Bruins. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, along with Bill Ranford, for Andy Moog during the 1987-88 season, the team that beat the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final that spring. He also spent time with the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, and St. Louis Blues before retiring in 2000 with 367 goals and 799 career points.
On that same date, the Detroit Red Wings began their long relationship with Ken Holland when they signed the free-agent goaltender. He only played in three games with the team but was hired as their general manager in 1997, a job he held until 2019. The team won three Stanley Cups under his guidance. Holland is currently the general manager of the Oilers.
The Nashville Predators signed free agent Tom Fitzgerald on July 6, 1998, and named him their first captain in franchise history. This was the second time he played for an expansion team in their inaugural season. He was a member of the Florida Panthers when they took to the ice for the first time in 1993.
On July 6, 2001, the Minnesota Wild signed free-agent winger Andrew Brunette. He scored a new career-high 69 points during the 2001-02 season, which led not only the Wild but also the entire 2001 free-agent class.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Famer George Armstrong was born in Skead, Ontario, on July 6, 1930. He played all 1188 games of his career, which spanned 21 seasons, with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made his NHL debut as a teenager during the 1949-50 season. He was named the team captain prior to the 1957-58 season and wore the “C” on his sweater for the next 12 seasons.
Armstrong captained four Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1962, 1963, 1964, and again in 1967. Although he was never known for his high offensives production, Armstrong is respected as one of the best two-way forwards of his generation. He was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
Another Hall of Famer, Brad Park, was born on this date in 1948 in Toronto. He was drafted by the New York Rangers with the second-overall pick of the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft. He played eight seasons with the Rangers and quickly became of the franchise’s greatest defensemen.
On Nov. 7, 1975, Park was traded to the Bruins, along with Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi, for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais in one of the biggest deals in recent NHL history. After eight seasons in Boston, he finished his career with two strong campaigns with the Red Wings, including 53 assists during the 1983-84 season. He retired with 213 goals and 896 points in 1113 games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
Other current and former NHL players celebrating birthdays today include Ron Duguay (64), Steve Sullivan (47), Christian Ehrhoff (39), Justin Schultz (31), Eric Comrie (26), and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (21).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.