July 1, or Canada Day, is celebrated by Canadians coast to coast, as well as by the NHL with its annual free-agent frenzy. For 16 current and former Canadian NHLers, it also serves as their birthday.
From Hall of Famers to players who only played a few games in the NHL, these Canadians provided fans with special moments both on and off the ice. With that in mind, here are the top five Canadians born on Canada Day who have played in the NHL.
5) Chris Tierney
Born July 1, 1994, Chris Tierney has made his hometown of Keswick, Ontario proud. Starting off in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), he helped the London Knights make three straight Memorial Cups from 2011-14. Unfortunately, the Knights fell short all three years. Over his four-year OHL career, he finished with 191 points in 247 games including five points in 12 Memorial Cup games.
Since making the jump to the NHL, Tierney has seen success with the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators. Known as an effective bottom-six forward, he has scored 73 goals and registered 226 points in 561 games as of the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. While he may not be a dynamic offensive player, he brings value to each team he plays for with his strong defensive game and gritty play.
4) Shawn Burr
Born July 1, 1966, Shawn Burr was as dynamic as they come in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers. The Sarnia, Ontario native scored 125 goals and 278 points in 175 games from 1983-86 winning OHL rookie of the year during the 1983-84 season. During the 1983-84 campaign, he also helped the Rangers make it to the final of the Memorial Cup, with five points in four games before falling to Ottawa in the championship game. His brilliance led him to be drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1984 seventh overall.
Burr would make the jump to the NHL full-time during the 1986-87 season with the Red Wings. During his 16-year career, he scored 181 goals while racking up 440 points in 878 games with the Red Wings, Lightning and Sharks. He also suited up for Team Canada at the 1990 World Championships, finishing with five points in ten games. After the 1999-00 season, he announced his retirement after splitting time in the NHL and International Hockey League (IHL) during the campaign. After a battle with leukemia, he passed away in 2013 at the age of 47.
3) Steve Shutt
The pride of Willowdale, Ontario, Steve Shutt was born July 1, 1952. He played his junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros, starting during the 1969-70 season. At that time, they were part of a league called the Ontario Hockey Association Junior League (OHA-JR), which later formeds into the OHL. He was almost a goal-per-game player in junior, scoring 144 goals and recording 260 points in 169 games. The Montréal Canadiens liked what they saw and drafted him fourth overall in the 1972 NHL Draft.
After being drafted by Montréal, Schutt went on to play 930 NHL games, scoring 424 goals and recording 817 assists. During his 13-year NHL career, he won the Maurice Richard Trophy in 1976-77, and helped the Canadiens win five Stanley Cups. He also got a chance to play for his country during the 1976 Canada Cup helping Canada win the tournament with three points in six games. After half a season with the L.A. Kings, he retired in 1985 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the class of 1993. He is still one of only two Canadiens players ever to score 60 goals in a season with the other being Guy Lafleur and one of four to have a 100-point season.
2) Rod Gilbert
Rod Gilbert, also known as Mr. Ranger, was born July 1, 1941, in Montréal, Quebec. He started his career in the OHA-JR league with the Guelph Biltmores, where he registered 182 points in 133 games from 1957-60. During the 1960-61 season, he played for the Ontario Hockey Association Jr B’s (OHA-B) Guelph Royals recording 103 points in 47 games. For his efforts, he was named league MVP.
Gilbert made the transition to the NHL full-time during the 1962-63 season. He played his entire 18-year NHL career with the Rangers setting franchise records in goals with 406 and points with 1,021. During his career, he had the opportunity to represent his country twice on the international stage. First was the famous 1972 Summit Series where he recorded four points in six games followed by the 1977 World Championship where he finished with four points in nine games. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, he also won the Lady Byng and Bill Masterton Trophies during his career while receiving the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1991. In August of 2021, he would pass away at the age of 80.
1) Jarome Iginla
Originally hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Jarome Iginla was born on Jul. 1, 1977. He started off his career in 1993-94 by dominating the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Kamloops Blazers winning two straight Memorial Cups with the franchise. During his WHL career, he scored 102 goals and recorded 236 points in 183 games and won the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Most Sportsmanlike Award in 1995 and the WHL Four Broncos Trophy in 1996 given out to the league MVP. During his time in junior, he also won a Gold Medal at the 1996 World Juniors being named best forward of the tournament after 12 points in just six games.
After being drafted by Dallas 11th overall in 1995, Iginla was shipped to Calgary where he went on to become the franchise’s greatest player. In 1,219 games with the franchise, he holds the record in goals with 525 and points with 1,095. During his time with the Flames, he would win two Rocket Richard Trophies, an Art Ross, the Ted Lindsay Trophy, the King Clancey Trophy and the Mark Messier Award. His career would also see stops in Pittsburgh, Boston, and Colorado before wrapping up in LA during the 2016-17 season. After his career, he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class.
As for Iginla’s international career, he is one of the most decorated players to ever play for Team Canada. As mentioned, he won Gold at the World Juniors in 1996, but that was just the start. He won Gold at the World Championship in 1997, the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and went to three Olympics capturing Gold in 2002 and 2010. His crowning moment has to be 2010 as he made the pass in overtime to Sidney Crosby who scored the Golden Goal leading to Canada capturing Gold at home in Vancouver and creating one of the most iconic moments in Canadian hockey history.
Great Canadian Hockey Players Born On Canada Day
Whether it is one of the five mentioned or players like Dan McGillis, Mike Eastwood or Bill Beveridge, there is plenty of Canadian talent born on Canada Day. As the years go by, there surely will be more added to this list as we celebrate not just the country but those who represented the Canadian flag on and off the ice.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.