Hockey is finally back, but we at Last Word on Hockey are still 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 August 24th featuring Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau.
Today in Hockey History
Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau Headline Induction Class
1972: The longtime friends and rivals highlight one of the most star-studded classes in Hall of Fame history. Both have the mandatory three-year waiting period waived after retiring after the 1970-71 season.
Howe finishes his Detroit Red Wings career with records for games played, goals and points. Beliveau wraps up his Montreal Canadiens stint with 10 Stanley Cups. The duo are inducted with Beliveau’s longtime teammate Bernie Geoffrion, forward Hooley Smith and Boston Bruins president Weston Adams.
Other Notable Events
1980: The Quebec Nordiques change the face of hockey and open the sport to more countries. Brothers Peter Stastny and Anton Stastny defect while playing for the Czechoslovakian national team. The pair are playing against the USSR in Innsbruck, Austria when the Nordiques organize an escape to Vienna. Quebec owner Marcel Aubut and director of player personnel Gilles Leger help the duo and Peter’s wife reach safety. They fly to Montreal and sign with the Nordiques.
Peter and Anton enjoy instant success with the club as Peter scores 39 goals and 109 points for the team to win the Calder Trophy. Anton also scores 39 goals and gets 85 points. Older brother, Marian Stastny joins his brothers for the 1981-82 season.
1987: Future Los Angeles Kings great Anze Kopitar is born in Jesenice, Slovenia. Los Angeles selects him 11th overall of the 2005 NHL Draft. He is the first Slovenian player in the NHL when he makes the team in 2006. Kopitar excels at both ends of the ice and leads the Kings to titles in 2012 and 2014. He wins the Lady Byng and Selke trophies in 2015-16, then wins the Selke again in 2017-18.
2017: The Colorado Avalanche sign Alexander Kerfoot to a deal. Kerfoot was drafted by the New Jersey Devils, but he did not sign with them. He scores 34 goals in two years with the Avs before being sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a deal that involved Tyson Barrie and Nazem Kadri.
Happy Birthday to You
1936: Murray Balfour
1944: Bill Goldsworthy
1954: Alain Daigle
1968: Benoit Brunet
1973: Andrew Brunette
1978: Derek Morris
1983: Marcel Goc
1987: Anze Kopitar