If it wasn’t for one of the events on Nov. 26, there wouldn’t even be a National Hockey League to write a daily history column about. In addition to this, some of the greatest players to ever strap on a pair of skates made headlines on this date. Some hit personal milestones, some began incredible streaks and others said goodbye.
Earliest NHL Moments
The NHL was officially founded, on Nov. 26, 1917, just a few weeks after the National Hockey Association suspended play. The charter members of the new league were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Maroons, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and Quebec Bulldogs. Frank Calder was elected the NHL’s first president.
Four of the five teams opened the first NHL season on Dec. 19, 1917. The Bulldogs did not officially start play until the 1919-20 season. After a 24-game regular-season schedule, the NHL champion played the winner of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association for the Stanley Cup. The Arenas beat the Vancouver Millionaires, three games to two, in a series held entirely in Toronto. This marked the first time an NHL team hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup.
On Nov. 26, 1925, the NHL officially added the New York Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates to the league. The Pirates purchased the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the USHL to build their first roster, while the Americans absorbed the roster of the Hamilton Tigers.
The league also increased the regular-season schedule from 30 games to 36 for the upcoming 1925-26 season. In addition, they announced the new “anti-defense” rule, which prohibited teams from having more than two players in their own zone when the puck was not present.
A Trio of Legends Leave Their Mark
The Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1, on Nov. 26, 1961, at the old Chicago Stadium. Gordie Howe made history when he stepped onto the ice by becoming the first player in NHL history to play in 1,000 career regular-season games. He was held off the scoresheet in his milestone game.
Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr had an assist, on Nov. 26, 1975, in the Boston Bruins’ 6-4 road win at the New York Rangers. This ended up being his final game in a Bruins uniform. A knee injury forces him to miss the remainder of the 1975-76 season and he signed with the Blackhawks the following summer. He played in 631 games for Boston, setting a new standard for two-way defensemen with 264 goals and 888 points.
Guy Lafleur announced his retirement, on Nov. 26, 1984, two days after playing against the Red Wings. He retired with 518 goals and is still the Canadiens’ all-time franchise leader with 728 assists and 1,246 points. This retirement doesn’t last very long. Shortly after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, he gets back on the ice with the Rangers. He played for three more seasons; one in New York and two with the Quebec Nordiques.
Let the Streaks Begin
Stan Mikita assisted on both of Doug Mohns’ goals, on Nov. 26, 1967, in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. This began a 14-game assist streak for Mikita, which ended being a new league record when it ended. It broke the old record of 11 straight games with an assist set by Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau during the 1962-63 season.
Wayne Gretzky had five assists, on Nov. 26, 1983, during the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-6 loss at the St. Louis Blues. This was the first of 17 consecutive games with an assist, which, at the time, was the longest such streak, until he broke it himself during the 1990-91 season with a 23-game assist streak. This streak came during Gretzky’s NHL-record 51 straight games with at least one point.
Winning No. 200
A pair of Hall of Fame netminders earned their 200th career victories on this date, some 17 years apart.
First, on Nov. 26, 1959, Jacques Plante became the second goaltender in Canadiens’ franchise history, and the 11th ever in the NHL, to win 200 games. The milestone came as Montreal won 4-2 in Detroit.
Bernie Parent joined the 200-win club, on Nov. 26, 1976, becoming the 20th NHL goaltender to do so. Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Bobby Clarke led the scoring with a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Let’s Party Like It’s 1999
Nov. 26, 1999 was a very eventful night with a handful of the best player from generation all reaching big milestone together.
Starting in Detroit, where Steve Yzerman scored his 600th career goal in a Red Wings, 4-2 victory over the Oilers. He became only the 11th player to score 600 goals and this came just days after he picked his 900th career assist. He joined an elite group of Gretzky, Howe, Marcel Dionne and Mark Messier as the only players in league history to have 600 goals and 900 assists.
His teammate, Larry Murphy, picked up two assists in the win. He also became the first defenseman and fourth player overall to ever play in 1,500 NHL games. He retired with the all-time record for defensemen with 1,615 games played. Oddly enough, Scott Stevens broke that record on this date, in 2003, when appeared in his 1,616th game with the New Jersey Devils. Murphy and Stevens were teammates together with the Washington Capitals.
Back to 1999, Jaromir Jagr scored a first-period natural hat trick, the 5th of his career, in just over seven minutes, and added an assist for his 900th career point. Goaltender Tom Barrasso recorded his 35th career shutout in the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 win over the visiting Ottawa Senators.
Finally, Jeremy Roenick scored his second hat trick within 24 hours to lead the Phoenix Coyotes t a 7-0 blowout of the Colorado Avalanche. He also had an assist in the game. He had three goals and an assist the night before in a 4-2 victory over the Devils. These were the seventh and eighth hat tricks of Roenick’s career.
Odds & Ends
On Nov. 26, 1969, Ed Giacomin led the Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Bruins. New York would not earn another shutout over Boston for over 22 years until Mike Richter held them off the scoreboard on Dec. 8, 1991.
Jean Pronovost picked up an assist, on Nov. 26, 1975, to become the first player to score 400 points in a Penguins uniform. The milestone came in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win over the visiting Red Wings.
Rookie Jari Kurri scored his first NHL hat trick and added an assist, on Nov. 26, 1980, as the Oilers rolled over the Blackhawks 10-3. Gretzky had a goal and four assists to lead the way with five points.
Blaine Stoughton scored with just eight seconds remaining in overtime, on Nov. 26, 1983, to lead the Hartford Whalers to a 4-3 win over the Rangers. This was the Whalers’ first NHL overtime win since joining the league at the start of the 1979-80 season.
Bernie Federko recorded his 500th career assist, on Nov. 26, 1985, as the Blues won 5-1 over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. He racked up 721 assists, which are still the most in franchise history, with St. Louis before being traded to Detroit in 1989.
Petri Skriko scored his third hat trick in eight days, on Nov. 26, 1986, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win at the Los Angeles Kings. He had the hottest scoring period of any player in Canucks history, scoring 12 goals and 14 points in a span of five games.
There was something about this date that brought out the best in Ray Sheppard. On Nov. 26, 1996, he scored his ninth career hat trick in the Florida Panthers’ 4-3 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
Exactly one year later, Sheppard scored his 11th career hat trick as the Panthers beat the Bruins 10-5, in head coach Bryan Murray’s debut behind the bench. Scott Mellanby notched a franchise-record four assists and Ray Whitney chipped in with a pair of goals and two helpers.
Cliff Ronning picked up three assists in the first period, on Nov. 26, 2000, to give him 700 points in his NHL career. The milestone came in the Nashville Predators 7-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
On that same night, Antti Laaksonen scored his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Minnesota Wild beat the Canucks 4-2. This was the first hat trick in the Wild’s franchise history.
Patrick Marleau became the 11th player to ever dress in 1,600 regular-season games, on Nov. 26, 2018, and he picked up an assist in the Maple Leafs’ 4-2 win over the Bruins. He enters the 2020-21 season with 1,723 games played, just 44 behind Howe for the most in NHL history.
Happy Birthday to You
A grand total of 14 players who skated at least one game in the NHL have been born on Nov. 26. The most successful of this lot are Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray (66), Steve Bozek (60), Dave Hannan (59), Chris Osgood (48), Keith Ballard (38) and Brandon Carlo (24).
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.