June 10 is a memorable date for a handful of fan bases across the National Hockey League. There were champions crowned in the most dramatic of fashions as well as some franchise-altering draft picks. This was also the date when the hockey world lost one of its greatest players.
Hockey World Says Goodbye to a Legend
The world of sports lost one of its true legends when Gordie Howe passed away, at the age of 88, on June 10, 2016. Howe owned the NHL record book until Wayne Gretzky showed up and rewrote it. He won the Hart Trophy for being the league’s most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL scoring six times. He was a part of four Stanley Cup championships with the Detroit Red Wings.
His professional career spanned from 1946 until 1980, and he didn’t retire for good until he was 52-years-ago. He retired as the NHL record-holder in games played (1,767), goals (801), assists (1,049) and points (1,850).
Winning it All in Overtime
The Colorado Avalanche, in their first season in Denver, won their first championship in franchise history on June 10, 1996. They completed a four-game sweep of the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers with a 1-0 victory in triple overtime. Nearly five hours after the opening faceoff, defenseman Uwe Krupp ended the series with a goal from the right point.
Goaltender Patrick Roy made 63 saves to earn the eighth playoff shutout of his career. Joe Sakic won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the postseason. The Avalanche’s captain had 18 goals and 34 points in 22 games, including six game-winning goals.
The New Jersey Devils won their second championship in franchise history on June 10, 2000, with a 2-1 double-overtime win versus the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Scott Niedermayer opened the scoring for the Devils with a shorthanded goal early in the second period. Mike Keane answered for the Stars just 69 seconds later. The game remained deadlocked at 1-1 until the 8:20 of the second overtime when Jason Arnott scored the Cup-clinching goal.
Larry Robinson became the third head coach in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup after taking over a team during the season. He replaced Robbie Ftorek, who was fired with just eight games remaining the regular season.
Devils’ captain Scott Stevens was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after the victory. The veteran defenseman had three goals and 11 points, including an assist on the Arnott goal, to go along with his plus-9 rating while averaging 25:25 of ice time per game.
History was made in the Red Wings’ 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on June 10, 2002, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Dominik Hasek made 17 saves to become the first goaltender in league history to record a shutout in all four rounds of the playoffs in the same season.
Hasek wasn’t the only one to hit a personal milestone as the Red Wings grabbed a 3-1 series lead. Brett Hull scored his 100th career Stanley Cup playoff goal, becoming just the fourth player ever to do so. Head coach Scotty Bowman picked up his 35th career win in the Final, more than any other coach in the NHL history.
The Vancouver Canucks beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on June 10, 2011, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-2 series lead. Maxim LaPierre scored the only goal of the game early in the third period. Roberto Luongo made 31 saves to earn his second 1-0 shutout win of the Final. He became only the second goaltender ever to accomplish this, joining Frank McCool, who had a pair of the 1-0 shutouts in the 1945 Final for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s Draft Season
The NHL held an expansion draft on June 10, 1970, to allow the Buffalo Sabres and Canucks to fill out their rosters for the upcoming 1970-71 season. The Sabres use the first pick to select Tom Webster from the Bruins. He never played a game for Buffalo as he was quickly traded to the Red Wings for goaltender Roger Crozier. The Canucks used their first pick to select defenseman Gary Doak, also from the Bruins.
The 1971 NHL Amateur Draft was on this date, and the Montreal Canadiens used it to draft two future Hall of Famers who would become a major part of their 1970s dynasty. The Canadiens had the first overall pick, and they used it to select Guy Lafleur from the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He scored 518 goals and 1246 points in 14 seasons with the Canadiens and was a part of five Stanley Cup championships.
In the second round, the Canadiens drafted Robinson, who became one of the greatest defensemen ever to play the game. He played 17 seasons with the Canadiens before playing the final three seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Kings. He never missed the playoffs in his entire NHL career.
Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne was selected second overall by the Red Wings. Some other notable names selected in this draft include Rick Martin (Sabres), Steve Vickers (New York Rangers), Terry O’Reilly (Bruins), Craig Ramsay (Sabres), and Rick Kehoe (Toronto Maple Leafs).
A decade later, the NHL Entry Draft was held on June 10, 1981. The Winnipeg Jets used the first overall pick to select Dale Hawerchuk. He scored 379 of his 518 career goals with the Jets. After 713 games with the team, the Jets traded him to Buffalo, in 1990, for a package that included Phil Housley and the draft pick used to select Keith Tkachuk.
Other members of the impressive 1981 draft class include Bobby Carpenter (Washington Capitals), Ron Francis (Hartford Whalers), James Patrick (Rangers), Al MacInnis (Calgary Flames), Chris Chelios (Canadiens), Mike Vernon (Flames), John Vanbiesbrouck (Rangers) and Steve Smith (Edmonton Oilers).
Odds & Ends
The Maple Leafs selected goaltender Terry Sawchuk from Red Wings and forward Dickie Moore from the Canadiens on June 10, 1964, in the annual NHL Intraleague Draft. Sawchuck played three seasons with the Maple Leafs, forming a Hall of Fame duo with Johnny Bower. He won the Vezina Trophy, for being the top goaltender in the league, following his first season, and he won six playoff games during the team’s 1967 run to the Stanley Cup.
On June 10, 1969, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest group of inductees which included Red Kelly, Sid Abel, Roy Worters, Bryan Hextall, and builder Bruce Norris.
The World Hockey Association was officially founded on June 10, 1971. The new league tried to gain popularity in major American cities and mid-level Canadian cities that did not have NHL clubs. They were able to lure away such NHL stars as Bernie Parent, Gerry Cheevers, and Derek Sanderson, while Bobby Hull was signed to the largest contract in professional hockey history, worth $2.7 million.
The WHA took to the ice in October of 1972 with 12 teams; Alberta Oilers, Cleveland Crusaders, Chicago Cougars, Houston Aeros, Los Angeles Sharks, Minnesota Fighting Saints, New England Whalers, Ottawa Nationals, Philadelphia Blazers, Quebec Nordiques, and Winnipeg Jets. The Whalers won the first league championship. When the league folded in 1979, the Oilers, Whalers, Nordiques, and Jets merged into the NHL.
The New York Islanders made one of the greatest coaching hires in league history on June 10, 1973. This was the date they named Al Arbour as their new head coach, replacing Phil Goyote. He remained behind the bench until he retired in 1994 as the second-winningest coach in NHL history. He was bench general for four straight Stanley Cup wins between 1980 and 1983.
The Stars beat the Sabres 4-2 on June 10, 1999, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defenseman Craig Ludwig scored the game-winning goal with just under three minutes to play in the third period. It was Ludwig’s first playoff goal since he was a member of the Canadiens back in 1988.
The Vegas Golden Knights became the third team in NHL history to reach the semifinals in three of their first four seasons when they eliminated the Avalanche in six games on June 10, 2021. They joined the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues in the feat. Andre Burakovsky also scored his 10th goal in an elimination game in the Avalanche’s 6-3 loss, which trails only Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin (13) for the most among active players.
Happy Birthday to You
18 current and former players share their birthday on June 10. The most notable birthday boys include Dennis O’Brien (73), Mike Eaves (66), Brent Sutter (60), Brian Benning (56), Chad Johnson (36), Jiri Sekac (30), and Kieffer Bellows (24).
*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator