The greatest player in the history of the National Hockey League had his fair share of memories on this date throughout his career. Also, on Oct. 9, we’ve seen new franchises hit the ice for the first time, new players leave their mark on the game and plenty of personal milestones by some of the all-time greats.
Gretzky’s Trifecta of Memories
There are very few dates on the calendar where you can’t find something memorable done by Wayne Gretzky. Oct. 9 was very kind to him over the years, starting way back in 1982 when he scored two goals and had an assist in the Edmonton Oilers’ 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The two goals gave him 200 in just 242 games played, making him the fastest player to ever hit this milestone.
Fast forward to Oct. 9, 1993, and Gretzky is now a member of the Los Angeles Kings. On this night he scored two goals and picked up four assists in a 10-3 beating of the Detroit Red Wings. Tomas Sandstrom had helpers on each of Gretzky’s goals on his way to setting a new franchise record with six assists. Defenseman Dominic Lavoie scored the only hat trick of his career with Gretzky assisting on two of the three goals.
On Oct. 9, 2002, the Kings retired Gretzky’s No. 99 in a pregame ceremony before they hosted the Phoenix Coyotes in their season opener. The festivities included the entire team wearing Gretzky jerseys during warmups and the unveiling of a bronze statue of the Great One outside of the Staples Center.
A Pair of Debuts
The Canucks played their first game in the league on this date in 1970. The hosted the Kings at the old Pacific Coliseum, but Los Angeles spoiled the party with a 3-1 win. Defenseman Barry Wilkins scored the lone Canucks goal and the first in team history.
The Washington Capitals made their NHL debut, on Oct. 9, 1974, with a tilt against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Rookie Jim Hrycuik gave the Capitals an early 1-0 lead with the first goal in franchise history. Hrycuik scored five goals in 21 career NHL games. The game was tied 2-2 heading into the final frame before the Rangers pulled away with a 6-3 victory.
Memories in Montreal
Longtime play-by-play announcer Danny Gallivan called his first Montreal Canadiens game, on Oct. 9, 1952. He went on to call over 2,000 Habs games on radio and television. He was the voice of 16 Stanley Cup championships before he retired in 1984.
On Oct. 9, 1971, Guy Lafleur played in his first NHL game. He picked up an assist as the Canadiens tied the Rangers 4-4, at the Forum, to extend their opening night unbeaten streak to nine games (6-0-3).
Exactly 11 years later, Oct. 9, 1982, Lafleur netted the 15th hat trick of his career and added two assists, as the Canadiens lost 8-7 to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
Pete Mahovlich scored his second career hat trick, on Oct. 9, 1974, to lead the Canadiens to a 5-5 tie with the New York Islanders. The draw extended the team’s opening night unbeaten streak to 12 straight games (8-0-4).
A Date Full of Firsts
On Oct. 9, 1974, Dave Keon scored a goal and added a pair of assists in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 6-2 win over the Kansas City Scouts. He became the first player to ever scout 350 goals in Maple Leafs uniform. He still sits third on the team’s all-time goals list with 365.
Mark Howe became the first defenseman to score to two shorthanded goals in the same game on Oct. 9, 1980. The two second-period shorties complete his first-ever hat trick, but his Hartford Whalers loss to the St. Louis Blues, 8-6.
Dale Hawerchuk scored his first career NHL goal, on Oct. 9, 1981, just 54 seconds into the game. He added a second goal and a pair of assists in the Winnipeg Jets’ big 8-3 win over the Rangers.
On Oct. 9, 1983, Tim Kerr and Bill Barber each score just seconds into the game to set the tone in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 7-1 win over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Barber became the first player in team history and 19th in league history to score 400 career goals.
Rookie Patrik Stefan scored the first two goals of his NHL career and added an assist, on Oct. 9, 1999, as his Atlanta Thrashers tied the visiting Buffalo Sabres 5-5. With the tie, the expansion Thrashers earned their first-ever point in their third game.
A Big Night in 1986
Oct. 9, 1986, was quite the eventful evening as a new NHL season got underway. Before the action started, Ron Greschner was named the captain of the Rangers, replacing Barry Beck. Greschner and Kelly Kisio alternated the captaincy over the next four seasons.
Jacques Martin coached his first game for the Blues and led them to 4-3 victory at the Kings. This was St. Louis’ ninth straight win on opening night, tying the all-time mark set by the Canadiens between 1954 and 1962.
In this game, Kings’ center Marcel Dionne had two assists to become just the second player in league history to score 1,600 points. Also, Luc Robitaille played in his first NHL game and lit the lamp for the first time.
The New York Islanders started their new season with a 3-2 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks. In the loss, Bryan Trottier picked up his 700th career assist.
Eventful Date for Shanahan
Future Hockey Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan made his NHL debut, on Oct. 9, 1987, in the New Jersey Devils’ 6-3 win over the Penguins. He picked up his first career point with an assist on Pat Verbeek’s third-period goal.
Exactly nine years later, on Oct. 9, 1996, Shanahan packed his bags for Detroit. The Hartford Whalers traded him, along with Brian Glynn, to the Red Wings for Keith Primeau, Paul Coffey and a first-round draft pick in 1997.
Shanahan spent the next nine seasons in Detroit, where he scored 309 goals and 633 points in 716 games and won three Stanley Cups. Coffey only played 20 games in Hartford before he was traded to Philadelphia, while Primeau stuck around for three seasons. The Whalers used the draft pick on Nikos Tselios, who played in just two NHL games.
Odds & Ends
Goaltender Gump Worsley made his NHL debut for the Rangers, on Oct. 9, 1952, replacing the injured Chuck Rayner. This was the first of 860 games he would play in during his Hall of Fame career.
Speaking of Hall of Fame goaltenders who have played for the Rangers, Jacques Plante made his debut on the team on Oct. 9, 1963. He suffered a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks at the old Chicago Stadium.
On Oct. 9, 1978, the Kings sent a first-round pick to the Boston Bruins for goaltender Ron Grahame, who played in 66 games over the next three seasons for Los Angeles. The Bruins used that draft pick to select Ray Bourque. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Exactly 15 years later, on Oct. 9, 1993, Bourque became just the second defenseman to ever score 1,100 points with an assist against the Quebec Nordiques.
The Kings had some better news, on Oct. 9, 1990, when they won their 700th game in franchise history. Rookie defenseman Rob Blake scored his first career goal in a 6-2 win over the Canucks.
The Rangers tied the Calgary Flames 1-1, on Oct. 9, 1997, to begin their season with their fourth consecutive draw, setting a new NHL record.
The Penguins named Jaromir Jagr the 12th team captain in franchise history, on Oct. 9, 1998, replacing Ron Francis. He remained captain for the next three seasons until he was traded to the Capitals in 2001.
Brett Hull became the highest-scoring member of his family on this date in 2000. He scored his 611th career goal to move ahead of his father, Blackhawks Hall of Famer Bobby Hull. He had two assists to go along with his goal as he led the Dallas Stars to a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 24 players have skated at least one game in the NHL have been born on Oct. 9. The most notable players of this group are Wayne Thomas (73), Rem Murray (48), Jason Krog (45), Henrik Zetterberg (40), Stephen Gionta (37), Trevor Daley (37), Cameron Hughes (24), Nicolas Beaudin (21) and the late Hall of Famer Bill Cook and Al Rollins.
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.