During the NHL’s hiatus, we at Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for July 7th, featuring Viacheslav Fetisov.
Today in Hockey History
Viacheslav Fetisov Comes to New Jersey
1989: The New Jersey Devils show a pair of Soviet defencemen to the media. Fetisov finally comes to the states after years of lobbying the USSR government. He was drafted in the 1983 NHL Draft, but is denied an opportunity in North America.
The Devils also introduce Sergei Starikov at the news conference. However, he only plays 16 games with the team. Both players help usher in a wave of Russian players to the NHL. Alexei Kasatonov, who is Fetisov’s defence partner, is one of the early arrivals and plays 257 games in New Jersey. Fetisov is traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 1994-95 and wins two Stanley Cups as part of the Russian Five.
Other Notable Events
1954: Tommy Ivan is named the new general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Ivan was the Red Wings coach for the last seven seasons and replaces Bill Tobin.
2004: The Colorado Avalanche name Joel Quenneville as their new head coach. He replaces Tony Granato behind the bench, who stays on as an assistant. Colorado finishes with 95 points in each of the three seasons that Quenneville is in charge. However, he leaves in May 2008 to join the Blackhawks. He wins three Stanley Cups in Chicago in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
Happy Birthday to You
1965: Randy Smith
1969: Joe Sakic
1973: Kārlis Skrastiņš
1974: Patrick Lalime