The events of July 9 are full of Hall of Fame names who left their mark on the National Hockey League, both on the ice and in the front office. There were trades, free agent signings, births and retirements.
Sakic Hangs Them Up
On July 9, 2009, Joe Sakic announces his retirement just two days after his 40th birthday. He spent his entire 20-season NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise.
Sakic came up huge during both of the Avalanche’s championship seasons. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy, for being the most valuable player of the postseason, during their 1996 run to the Stanley Cup. In 2000-01, their other championship season, he won the Hart and Lester B. Pearson (Ted Lindsay Award) Trophies for being voted as the league’s top player by both the writers and his peers.
Sakic is still the franchise’s all-time leader with 625 goals, 1,016 assists and 1,641 points. His number 19 was retired before the Avalanche’s first game without him in 2009 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. He has been the team’s general manager since 2014.
Predators Hire Their Only Boss
Over a year before their NHL debut, on July 9, 1997, the Nashville Predators name David Poile as their first general manager. He has been their only general manager as he still holds the position, along with being the team’s president of hockey operations.
The Predators have gone 821-633-60-161 (1863 points) under Poile’s guidance. They have qualified for the postseason in 12 of their 20 NHL seasons. They made their first and only Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2017 but lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Before They Were Executives
Keeping with the theme of NHL general managers, two long-time front office members were on the move during their playing careers. Glen Sather, the architect of the Edmonton Oilers 1980s dynasty and New York Rangers executive, changed addresses.
On July 9, 1975, the Montreal Canadiens traded Sather to the Minnesota North Stars in exchange for cash and a future third-round draft choice. He had nine goals and 19 points in his lone season with the North Stars, his final in the NHL. He began his long relationship with the Oilers the following season, by signing with them in the World Hockey Association (WHA).
Long before becoming the Canadiens’ general manager, Marc Bergevin was a journeyman defenseman who played 20 seasons in the NHL. On July 9, 1992, he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played three seasons with the Lightning before being traded to the Red Wings in 1997. He returned to Tampa Bay, via a trade from the Penguins, in 2003, but he was traded back to them two months later. Bergevin played in 1191 combined games for eight different teams during his playing career.
Brendan Shanahan, the current Maple Leafs’ team president, signed a two-year contract with the Rangers on July 9, 2006. The 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee scored 52 goals and 108 points in his two seasons with New York. In 2008, he signed with the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted him in 1987, where he played the final 34 games of his career.
Odds & Ends
The Red Wings traded defenseman Aaron Ward, on July 9, 2001, to the Carolina Hurricanes for a second-round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry draft. Ward played five seasons with the Hurricanes and was part of their 2006 Stanley Cup victory. The Red Wings used to the draft pick to select Jiri Hudler.
On July 9, 2004, future Hall of Famer Mark Recchi signed with the Penguins. This was his second stint with the team, who drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. The signing came 12 years after the Penguins traded Recchi to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1992.
On that same date, the Phoenix Coyotes signed former Stanley Cup winner Mike Ricci. He played the final 87 game so his NHL career with the Coyotes before retiring in 2007.
The Chicago Blackhawks locked up the two faces of their franchise on July 9, 2014. They signed Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to identical eight-year, $84 million contracts. Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 while Kane took it home in 2013. They both played a huge role in the team’s 2015 Stanley Cup championship.
Happy Birthday to You
Clarence Campbell was born in Fleming, Saskatchewan, on July 9, 1905. He became the third president of the NHL, taking over for Red Dutton in 1946. He held his post until 1977. The league went for six teams to 18 during his 31 years at the helm.
When the league expanded into two conferences and four divisions, in 1974, what is known today as the Western Conference was named the Campbell Conference. The winner of the Western Conference receives the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl each season.
Despite having a conference and a trophy named after him, he might be best remembered, at least in Montreal, for suspending a superstar. On March 13, 1955, Canadiens legend Maurice Richard got involved in an ugly slashing incident with Hal Laycoe of the Boston Bruins. During the chaos, he punched linesman Cliff Thompson.
Two days later, Campbell announced that Richard, the league’s leading scoring at the time, would be suspended for the final three games of the regular season and the entirety of the playoffs. Campbell was in attendance at the Canadiens’ next game and was treated rather poorly. The game had to be forfeited after tear gas was thrown near his seat, causing an evacuation of the Forum. Outside of the arena, the anger boiled over into a full riot which led to property damage, injuries and around 70 arrests.
Another legendary figure in NHL history, Red Kelly, was born on July 9, 1927, in Simcoe, Ontario. He played a total of 21 seasons in the league, 13 with the Red Wings and eight with the Maple Leafs. He won a total of eight Stanley Cups, four with each team.
He began his career with the Red Wings in 1947 as a defenseman. He won the Norris Trophy for being the league’s top blueliner following the 1953-54 season. When he was traded to the Maple Leafs, in 1960, he was converted to center because head coach Punch Imlach wanted someone to shutdown Canadiens star Jean Beliveau. In his first full season as a forward, he scored a career-high 20 goals and 70 points.
Kelly retired as a player following the Maple Leafs’ 1967 championship and became the first head coach on Los Angeles Kings’ history. He also had coaching stints with the Penguins and Maple Leafs, spending 742 games behind an NHL bench.
Other notable NHL players who were born on this date include Andre Pronovost (84), Steve Dubinsky (50), Karlis Skrastins (46), Chris Campoli (36) and the late Frank Finnigan.