The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League, they have won six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club's home rink is the United Center, which they share with the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls; the club had played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium. The club's original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a "hands-on" owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles; the club was owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club's landlord, owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings.
After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961. After James D. Norris died in 1966, the Wirtz family became owners of the franchise. In 2007, the club came under the control of Rocky Wirtz, credited with turning around the organization, which had lost fan interest and competitiveness. Under Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times between 2010 and 2015. On May 1, 1926, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise for Chicago to a syndicate headed by former football star Huntington Hardwick of Boston. At the same meeting, Hardwick arranged the purchase of the players of the Portland Rosebuds of the Western Hockey League for $100,000 from WHL president Frank Patrick in a deal brokered by Boston Bruins' owner Charles Adams. However, only one month Hardwick's group sold out to Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin.
McLaughlin had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division" after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Black Hawk, a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. McLaughlin named the new hockey team in honor of the military unit, making it one of many sports team names using Native Americans as icons. However, unlike the military division, the team's name was spelled in two words as the "Black Hawks" until 1986, when the club became the "Blackhawks," based on the spelling found in the original franchise documents; the Black Hawks began play in the 1926–27 season, along with fellow expansion franchises the Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers. The team had to face immediate competition in Chicago from Eddie Livingstone's rival Chicago Cardinals, which played in the same building. McLaughlin took a active role in running the team despite having no background in the sport, he was very interested in promoting American hockey players very rare in professional hockey.
Several of them, including Doc Romnes, Taffy Abel, Alex Levinsky, Mike Karakas, Cully Dahlstrom, become staples with the club, under McLaughlin, the Black Hawks were the first NHL team with an all-American-born lineup. The Black Hawks played their first game on November 17, 1926, against the Toronto St. Patricks in the Chicago Coliseum; the Black Hawks won their first game 4–1, in front of a crowd of over 7,000. The Hawks' first season was a moderate success. However, they lost the 1927 first-round playoff series to the Boston Bruins. Following the series, McLaughlin fired head coach Pete Muldoon. According to Jim Coleman, sportswriter for the Toronto-based The Globe and Mail, McLaughlin felt the Hawks were good enough to finish first. Muldoon disagreed, in a fit of pique, McLaughlin fired him. According to Coleman, Muldoon responded by yelling, "Fire me, you'll never finish first. I'll put a curse on this team that will hoodoo it until the end of time." The Curse of Muldoon was born – although Coleman admitted years after the fact that he had fabricated the whole incident – and became one of the first widely-known sports "curses."
While the team would go on to win three Stanley Cups in its first 39 years of existence, it did so without having finished in first place, either in a single- or multi-division format. The Black Hawks proceeded to have the worst record in the league in 1927–28, winning only seven of 44 games. For the 1928–29 season, the Black Hawks were slated to play in the new Chicago Stadium, but due to construction delays and a dispute between McLaughlin and Chicago Stadium promoter Paddy Harmon, they instead divided their time between the Coliseum, the Detroit Olympia, the Peace Bridge Arena in Fort Erie, Ontario, they moved to Chicago Stadium the following season. By 1931, with goal-scorer Johnny Gottselig, Cy Wentworth on defense, Charlie Gardiner in goal, the Hawks reached their first Stanley Cup Final, but fizzled in the final two games against the Montreal Canadiens. Chicago had another stellar season in 1932. However, two years Gardiner led his team to victory by shutting out the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ronald Jeffrey Hextall is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender who played 13 National Hockey League seasons for the Philadelphia Flyers, Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders. He served as assistant general manager for the Flyers for one season, was promoted to general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Paul Holmgren on May 7, 2014, he held this position for four and a half seasons. Before this he served as assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2012. Hextall played 11 of his 13 seasons over two stints with the Flyers, he is a member of the Flyers Hall of Fame. During his rookie season in 1986–87, he was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the Flyers' loss to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player, making him one of only five players to win the trophy in a losing effort. Injuries in the middle of his career contributed to a drop in his playing ability.
Upon his return to Philadelphia, Hextall regained confidence and form, recording goals against averages below 3.00 in each of his five subsequent seasons – the lowest of his career. He retired from the NHL at the end of the 1998–99 season. Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to score a goal by shooting the puck into the opponent's empty net, against the Boston Bruins in the 1987–88 season; the following season, he became the first goaltender to score in the playoffs, by shooting the puck into the Washington Capitals' empty net. His mobile style of play, in which he provided support to his defencemen by coming out of the goal area to play the puck was revolutionary, inspired future generations of goaltenders, such as Martin Brodeur, he was known for being one of the NHL's most aggressive goaltenders: he was suspended for six or more games on three occasions, had more than 100 penalty minutes in each of his first three seasons, set new records for the number of penalty minutes recorded by a goaltender in the NHL.
Ron Hextall was born on May 3, 1964 in Brandon, the third and youngest child of Bryan and Fay Hextall. Hextall is a third-generation NHL player - his grandfather, Hall of Famer Bryan Hextall, played 11 seasons with the New York Rangers, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969, his father, Bryan Hextall, Jr. played in the NHL for 10 seasons, most notably for the Pittsburgh Penguins, his uncle, Dennis Hextall, played 14 seasons of NHL hockey, not staying with any one club for longer than five years. During his youth, Hextall saw his father and uncle roughed up by the Philadelphia Flyers, whose aggressive style of play for much of the 1970s gave the team the name "Broad Street Bullies". Hextall reflected that during this period he "hated the Flyers."Because of his father's career, Hextall's education was far from stable. At school, he achieved B and C grades, putting in the minimum amount of effort, but his mind remained on hockey, goaltending. "Everybody else would be working and I'd be drawing pictures of Tony Esposito and Jimmy Rutherford," he recalled.
Hextall came to enjoy the constant moving saying "I got to hang around NHL rinks. What more would I have wanted?"Although both his father and grandfather played as forwards, his father was happy for him to play in goal, but insisted that he try other positions to improve his skating: Bryan believed his son would have made a good defenceman. Hextall's mother thought her son's love for hockey exceeded that of her husband's teammates and believed it would drive him to achieve his aim of goaltending in the NHL; each summer, Hextall received training at the hockey school at which his father taught, but the hockey programs in Pittsburgh and Atlanta were sub-standard, meant that during his teenage years, he was behind many of his fellow players. He describes himself as " what you would call real polished" in his first year of junior hockey, aged 17. Hextall began his junior hockey career in 1980 with the Melville Millionaires in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. In the 1980-81 season, his solitary season with the club, he played 37 games with a goals against average of 6.57.
In one game that season, against the Prince Albert Raiders, Hextall faced 105 shots, made 84 saves, a performance described as brilliant by the Regina Leader-Post. Although the Millionaires lost 21–2, the reporter noted that if it was not for Hextall, the Raiders could have scored "34 or 35". Millionaires teammate Mark Odnokon praised his performance the way "he lived up to his responsibilities and stayed in there until the end." In 2009, Hextall was inducted as one of the inaugural members of the SJHL Hall of Fame. Hextall returned to Brandon for the 1981–82 season, playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League, he played 30 regular season games for the Wheat Kings, during which he recorded a GAA of 5.71. The Wheat Kings reached the playoffs but were swept four games to none in the first-round by the Regina Pats. Hextall played in three of the games, but completed only two and had a GAA of 9.32. His team was regarded as a poor one at the time by critics and Hextall had to battle in each game.
Flyers' scout Gerry Melnyk said he could understand why many teams did not rate Hextall: "There were teams who thought he was loony." Melnyk claimed it was these attributes which he was attracted b
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada; the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The National Hockey League was organized on November 26, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association, founded in 1909 in Renfrew, Ontario; the NHL took the NHA's place as one of the leagues that contested for the Stanley Cup in an annual interleague competition before a series of league mergers and folds left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup in 1926. At its inception, the NHL had four teams—all in Canada, thus the adjective "National" in the league's name.
The league expanded to the United States in 1924, when the Boston Bruins joined, has since consisted of American and Canadian teams. From 1942 to 1967, the league had only six teams, collectively nicknamed the "Original Six"; the NHL added six new teams to double its size at the 1967 NHL expansion. The league increased to 18 teams by 1974 and 21 teams in 1979. Between 1991 and 2000, the NHL further expanded to 30 teams, it added its 31st team in 2017 and has approved the addition of a 32nd team in 2021. The league's headquarters have been in New York City since 1989 when the head office moved there from Montreal. After a labour-management dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league resumed play in 2005–06 under a new collective agreement that included a salary cap. In 2009, the NHL enjoyed record highs in terms of sponsorships and television audiences; the International Ice Hockey Federation considers the Stanley Cup to be one of the "most important championships available to the sport".
The NHL draws many skilled players from all over the world and has players from 20 countries. Canadians have constituted the majority of the players in the league, with an increasing percentage of American and European players in recent seasons; the current NHL Champions are the Washington Capitals, who defeated the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. The National Hockey League was established in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association. Founded in 1909, the NHA began play one year with seven teams in Ontario and Quebec, was one of the first major leagues in professional ice hockey, but by the NHA's eighth season, a series of disputes with Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone led team owners of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs to hold a meeting to discuss the league's future. Realizing the NHA constitution left them unable to force Livingstone out, the four teams voted instead to suspend the NHA, on November 26, 1917, formed the National Hockey League.
Frank Calder was chosen as its first president, serving until his death in 1943. The Bulldogs were unable to play, the remaining owners created a new team in Toronto, the Arenas, to compete with the Canadiens and Senators; the first games were played on December 19, 1917. The Montreal Arena burned down in January 1918, causing the Wanderers to cease operations, the NHL continued on as a three-team league until the Bulldogs returned in 1919; the NHL replaced the NHA as one of the leagues that competed for the Stanley Cup, an interleague competition back then. Toronto won the first NHL title, defeated the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association for the 1918 Stanley Cup; the Canadiens won the league title in 1919. Montreal in 1924 won their first Stanley Cup as a member of the NHL; the Hamilton Tigers, won the regular season title in 1924–25 but refused to play in the championship series unless they were given a C$200 bonus. The league refused and declared the Canadiens the league champion after they defeated the Toronto St. Patricks in the semi-final.
Montreal was defeated by the Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League for the 1925 Stanley Cup. It was the last time a non-NHL team won the trophy, as the Stanley Cup became the de facto NHL championship in 1926 after the WCHL ceased operation; the National Hockey League embarked on rapid expansion in the 1920s, adding the Montreal Maroons and Boston Bruins in 1924. The Bruins were the first American team in the league; the New York Americans began play in 1925 after purchasing the assets of the Hamilton Tigers, were joined by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Rangers were added in 1926; the Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars were added after the league purchased the assets of the defunct WCHL. A group purchased the Toronto St. Patricks in 1927 and renamed them the Maple Leafs; the first NHL All-Star Game was held in 1934 to benefit Ace Bailey, whose career ended on a vicious hit by Eddie Shore. The second was held in 1937 in support of Howie Morenz's family when he died of a coronary embolism after breaking his leg during a game.
The Great Depression and the onset of World War II took a toll on the league. The Pirates became the Philadelphia Quakers in 1930 folded one year later; the Senators became the St. Louis Eagles in 1934 lasting only one
Art Ross Trophy
The Art Ross Trophy is awarded to the National Hockey League player who leads the league in points at the end of the regular season. It was presented to the league by former player, General Manager, head coach Art Ross; the trophy has been awarded 70 times to 29 players since its introduction in the 1947–48 NHL season. Ross is known for his design of the official NHL puck, with bevelled edges for better control; the current holder is Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Art Ross Trophy was presented to the National Hockey League in 1947 by Arthur Howey "Art" Ross, former General Manager and head coach of the Boston Bruins and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee as a player. Elmer Lach of the Montreal Canadiens was the winner of the first Art Ross Trophy, awarded at the conclusion of the 1947–48 season. Players from the Pittsburgh Penguins have won the trophy 15 times. Although Joe Thornton, winner from the 2005–06 season, started the season playing for the Boston Bruins, he finished with the San Jose Sharks and the award counts for the Sharks.
Therefore, Boston Bruins have seven players winning the trophy, fifth overall. From 1963 to 2001, Marcel Dionne and Bryan Trottier were the only single-time winners of the scoring title, while Stan Mikita, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr had won it on multiple occasions. For two decades, from 1981 to 2001, only three players won the Art Ross Trophy: Gretzky and Jagr; the streak ended when Jarome Iginla won the trophy in 2002. Gretzky has won the trophy ten times, during his 20-year NHL career. Gordie Howe and Lemieux have each won it six times, while Jagr each have five. Jagr, from the Czech Republic, has won the award the most times by a non-Canadian. Patrick Kane is the only American born player to win the trophy, doing so in 2016. Gretzky is the only player to win the trophy for more than one team, while Thornton is the only player to win it while playing for two different teams in one season. Stan Mikita is the only player in NHL history to win the Art Ross and Lady Byng Trophies all in the same season, which he did twice.
Orr is the only defenseman to win the scoring title, doing so in 1970 and 1975 with Boston, in 1970 he became the first player to capture four individual awards in a single season as he won the Hart and Conn Smythe Trophies that year as well. In 2007, Sidney Crosby became the youngest player to win the Art Ross Trophy at age 19, became the youngest scoring champion in any major North American professional sport. At twice Crosby's age, Martin St. Louis became the oldest player to capture the Art Ross at the age of 37 having the longest gap between scoring titles. Henrik and Daniel Sedin are the only siblings to win the award, in 2011, respectively. Since 2001, only four players, Connor McDavid, Evgeni Malkin, St. Louis have won the award more than once: Crosby in 2007 and 2014, Malkin in 2009 and 2012, St. Louis in 2004 and 2013, McDavid in 2017 and 2018. McDavid and Gretzky are the only players to win multiple Art Ross trophies before age 21; the NHL rules stipulate three tiebreakers in case two or more players are tied in points: Player with most goals Player with fewer games played Player scoring first goal of the seasonScoring ties happened in the 1961–62, 1979–80, 1994–95 seasons, all of them being decided by the first tiebreaker of scoring more goals.
In those respective seasons, Hull won over Andy Bathgate, Dionne over Gretzky, Jagr over Eric Lindros. The NHL's award to recognize the leading goal-scorer, the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, does not have a tiebreaker, allowing multiple winners to be recognized in any one season. Bold Player with the most points scored in a season. List of National Hockey League awards List of NHL players List of NHL statistical leaders Art Ross Trophy at NHL.com Art Ross Trophy history at Legends of Hockey.net
The Hartford Whalers were an American professional ice hockey team based for most of its existence in Hartford, Connecticut. The club played in the World Hockey Association from 1972 until 1979, in the National Hockey League from 1979 to 1997. Based in Boston, the team joined the WHA in the league's inaugural season, was known as the New England Whalers throughout its time in the WHA; the Whalers moved to Hartford in 1974 and joined the NHL in the NHL–WHA merger of 1979. In 1997, the Whalers franchise relocated to North Carolina; the Whalers franchise was created in November 1971 when the World Hockey Association awarded a franchise to New England businessmen Howard Baldwin, John Coburn, W. Godfrey Wood and William Edward Barnes to begin play in Boston; the team began auspiciously, signing former Detroit Red Wings star Tom Webster, hard rock Boston Bruins' defenseman Ted Green, Toronto Maple Leafs' defensemen Rick Ley, Jim Dorey and Brad Selwood, former Pittsburgh Penguins' goaltender Al Smith.
New England signed an unusually large number of American players, including Massachusetts natives and former U. S. Olympic hockey team members Kevin Ahearn, John Cunniff and Paul Hurley. Two other ex-U. S. Olympians on the Whalers' roster had spent a significant part of their careers in Boston with Boston College and the Bruins, respectively; the Whalers had the WHA's best regular season record in the 1972–73 season. Webster led the team through the playoffs. Behind legendary ex-Boston University head coach Jack Kelley, the team defeated the Winnipeg Jets to win the inaugural Avco World Trophy, the WHA championship; the club played its first season's home games at Boston Arena. However, the Garden was owned by the rival NHL Bruins, the Whalers found themselves fourth in priority for dates behind the Bruins, Boston Celtics and the American Hockey League's Boston Braves. Fed up with Baldwin decided to move elsewhere. Hartford was about to open a new, modern downtown arena and convention center, the Hartford Civic Center.
The city had hoped to get an American Basketball Association team as the main tenant, but when that fell through, city leaders got in touch with the Whalers. Aside from various minor league teams in New Haven, the area had been bereft of professional hockey until the Whalers' arrival; the Civic Center was still being finished when the 1974–75 season began, so the Whalers played the first part of the 1974–75 season at The Big E Coliseum in West Springfield, Massachusetts. On January 11, 1975, the team played its first game at the Hartford Civic Center in front of a sellout crowd; the franchise remained in Hartford until it relocated to North Carolina for the 1997–98 season, save for a temporary relocation to the nearby Springfield Civic Center in the late 1970s while their Hartford arena was being rebuilt after heavy snow followed by heavy rain caused the roof to collapse, which suffered from several engineering and construction shortcomings. Though they never again won the WHA championship, the New England Whalers were a successful team, never missing the playoffs in league history, finishing first in their division three times.
They had a more stable roster than most WHA teams: Ley, Selwood and Tommy Earl played over 350 games each with the club. The team scored a major coup when it signed legend Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty from the Houston Aeros in 1977. While the first two full seasons in Hartford were not glittering, the final two WHA seasons saw more success, they went to the finals again in 1978, with a veteran team spearheaded by the Howes—50-year-old Gordie led the team in scoring—future NHL stars Gordie Roberts and Mike Rogers, All-Star defenseman Ron Plumb, forwards John McKenzie, Dave Keon and Mike Antonovich, possessed the league's best defense. The next season was not so fine, but while age caught up with Gordie Howe, the slack was picked up by Andre Lacroix, the WHA's all-time leading scorer, acquired from the Aeros; as the Whalers were one of the most stable WHA teams, the club was one of the four franchises admitted to the NHL when the rival leagues merged in 1979. Unlike the other former WHA teams, the Whalers were not stripped of most of their players.
The Howes, Ley, Smith and Lacroix are the New England Whalers players who stayed on the team as it made the transition to the NHL and became the Hartford Whalers. Only Selwood, George Lyle and Warren Miller were reclaimed by their former NHL teams; the Whalers were the only American-based WHA team to join the NHL. Since the NHL's Boston Bruins were located in New England and had opposed the NHL-WHA merger due to the Whalers' proximity to Boston, a compromise was made for the New England Whalers to become the Hartford Whalers when they joined the NHL. Connecticut-based graphic designer Peter Good was hired by the Jack Lardis Associates advertising agency to design a new logo for the team. Good first explained that a team named the Whalers should not have a whale for a mascot and harpoons in its logo because it implies killing your own mascot. Once the Whalers' owner and select members of team staff agreed that this was a problem, Good presented some preliminary sketches as a way to think about the logo, team founder and owner Howard Baldwin pointed to one, a "W"-shaped trident with an "H" in the middle and said, "We'll go with that one."
When Good asked him why he liked it, he said. This logo was quite similar to the famous logo the
Mario Lemieux, is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and current owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played parts of 17 National Hockey League seasons with the team from 1984 to 2006, assuming ownership in 1999. Dubbed The Magnificent One or Le Magnifique, he is acknowledged to have been one of the greatest players of all time. A gifted playmaker and fast skater despite his large size, Lemieux beat defencemen with fakes and dekes. Lemieux led Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. Under his ownership, the Penguins won additional titles in 2009, 2016, 2017, he is the only man to have his name on the Cup as an owner. He led Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002, a championship at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, a Canada Cup in 1987, he won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player voted by the players four times, the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player during the regular season three times, the Art Ross Trophy as the league's points leader six times, the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP in 1991 and 1992.
He is the only player to score one goal in each of the five possible situations in a single NHL game, a feat he accomplished in 1988. At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL's seventh-highest ranked career scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists, he ranks second in NHL history with a 0.754 goals-per game average for his career, behind only Mike Bossy. In 2004, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Lemieux's career was plagued by health problems that limited him to 915 of a possible 1,428 regular season games, between the opening of the 1984-85 campaign and the final game of 2005–2006. Lemieux's NHL debut was on October 11, 1984, his final game took place on December 16, 2005, his numerous ailments included spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendinitis of a hip-flexor muscle, chronic back pain so severe that other people had to tie his skates. He retired on two separate occasions due to these health issues, first in 1997 after battling lymphoma before returning in 2000, a second and final time in 2006 after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
Lemieux missed the entire 1994–95 season due to Hodgkin's lymphoma. Despite his lengthy absences from the game, his play remained at a high level upon his return to the ice. In 1999, he bought the then-bankrupt Penguins and their top minor-league affiliate, the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, is the team's principal owner and chairman; the Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Lemieux after his first retirement in 1997, waiving the normal three-year waiting period. Lemieux's impact on the NHL has been significant: Andrew Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called him the saviour of the Pittsburgh Penguins, after Lemieux's retirement, Wayne Gretzky commented that "You don't replace players like Mario Lemieux... The game will miss him." Bobby Orr called him "the most talented player I've seen." Orr, along with Bryan Trottier and numerous fans, speculated that if Lemieux had not suffered so many issues with his health, his on-ice achievements would have been much greater. In 2017, he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players".
Lemieux was born in Montreal, to Pierrette, a stay-at-home mom, Jean-Guy Lemieux, an engineer. He and his older brothers Alain and Richard grew up in a working class family in the Ville-Émard district. Mario began practicing hockey at age three in his basement, his father created a rink on the front lawn so that the boys could practice as much as possible, according to family legend, the family sometimes packed snow onto the living room carpet so the brothers could practice indoors when it was dark. The young Lemieux was a teammate to future NHLers Marc Bergevin and J. J. Daigneault, on the same minor ice hockey team from Ville-Émard. Lemieux and Daigneault played together in the 1977 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, all three of them played in the 1978 tournament together. Lemieux started his career with the Laval Voisins of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; when he was drafted at age 15, he declared. In his last game of the regular season, Lemieux needed three goals to tie Guy Lafleur's record of 130 goals— he scored six goals and added six assists in a 16-4 victory.
Although he played in the 1983 World Junior Hockey Championships, Lemieux did not play for the Canadian Juniors in 1984 because he disliked how coach Dave King treated him in the previous tournament. He did not want to break up his junior season, he finished his QMJHL career with 562 points in three seasons. Before the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux announced, he and his agent could not negotiate a contract. Because of this, when the Penguins called his name as the first overall draft pick, he did not shake general manager Eddie Johnston's hand or don the Penguins jersey, as is NHL tradition, he claimed he was upset about the contract negotiation, said that "Pittsburgh doesn't want bad enough." Though t
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are a professional ice hockey team based in the New York metropolitan area. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League; the team splits its home games between Barclays Center in the borough of Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are one of three NHL franchises in the New York metropolitan area, along with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, their fan base resides on Long Island; the team was founded in 1972 as part of the NHL's maneuvers to keep a team from rival league World Hockey Association out of the newly built Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in suburban Uniondale, New York. After two years of building up the team's roster, they found instant success by securing fourteen straight playoff berths starting with their third season; the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships between 1980 and 1983, the seventh of eight dynasties recognized by the NHL in its history.
Their 19 consecutive playoff series wins between 1980 and 1984 is a feat that remains unparalleled in the history of professional sports. Following the team's dynasty era, the franchise ran into problems with money and management, an aging arena, low attendance, their woes were reflected on the ice, as the team has not won a division title since 1987–88, went 22 seasons without winning a playoff series prior to the 2016 playoffs. After years of failed attempts to rebuild or replace Nassau Coliseum in suburban Long Island, the Islanders relocated to Barclays Center following the 2014–15 season. In the 2018–19 season the Islanders started splitting their home games between the Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum until their new arena is opened in 2021. Eight former members of the Islanders have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, seven of whom—Al Arbour, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Bill Torrey, Bryan Trottier—were members of all four Cup-winning teams. Pat LaFontaine is the most recent inductee, having been honored in 2003.
In the fall of 1972, the emerging World Hockey Association planned to place its New York team, the New York Raiders, in Nassau County's brand-new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. County officials wanted to keep the Raiders out. William Shea, who had helped bring Major League Baseball's New York Mets to the area a decade earlier, was enlisted to bring an NHL team to Long Island. Shea found NHL president Clarence Campbell to be receptive, the Islanders bid faced opposition from the New York Rangers, who did not want additional competition in the New York area. Campbell and Shea persuaded the Rangers' owners, Madison Square Garden, to reconsider. Rangers' president Bill Jennings weighed cons. Another local NHL team would be compelled to pay the Rangers compensation for sharing their NHL territory, while a WHA rival would not be obligated to pay the Rangers anything. Remembering the crucial role the New York Jets had played in ensuring the success of the American Football League just a few years earlier as a challenger of the National Football League, Jennings ended up helping to bring a new NHL team into town.
Despite expanding to 14 teams just two years prior, the NHL hastily awarded a Long Island-based franchise to clothing manufacturer Roy Boe, owner of the American Basketball Association's New York Nets, on November 8, 1971. The terms included $6 million franchise fee plus a $5 million territorial fee to the Rangers. An expansion franchise was given to Atlanta to keep the schedule balanced and to prevent the WHA from entering the growing market at the newly-built Omni Coliseum; the franchise chose New York Islanders as its name, although many expected it to use the "Long Island Ducks", after the Eastern Hockey League team that played from 1959 to 1973. The team was soon nicknamed the "Isles" by the local newspapers; the Islanders' arrival doomed the Raiders, who played in Madison Square Garden under difficult lease terms and were forced to move to Cherry Hill, New Jersey in the middle of their second season. On February 14, 1972, Bill Torrey, executive vice president of the NHL's California Golden Seals, was named as the team's general manager.
The Islanders secured veteran forward Ed Westfall, defenseman Gerry Hart, goaltender Billy Smith in the 1972 Expansion Draft, along with junior hockey stars Billy Harris, Lorne Henning, Bobby Nystrom in the 1972 Amateur Draft. Soon after the draft, Phil Goyette was named as the team's first head coach, however he was fired halfway through the season and replaced with Earl Ingarfield and assistant coach Aut Erickson. Unlike most other expansion teams' general managers, Torrey made few trades for veteran players in the early years, as he was committed to building the team through the draft. Torrey stated, "I told the owners that we're not going to beat this team next door by taking the castoffs from others teams. We'd have to develop our own stars." Before the season began, Westfall was named the team's first captain. The Islanders' first win came on October 1972, in a 3 -- 2 game against the Los Angeles Kings. In the team's first season, young players such as Smith and Henning were given chances to prove themselves in the NHL.
The young and inexperienced expansion team, posted a record of 12–60–6, setting an NHL record for most losses and worst overall record in a season. A rare highlight occurred on January 18, 1973, when they defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins 9–7. Finishing last in the standings that season, they received the right to selec