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Today in Hockey History: NHL Expansion Adds Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks

NHL Expansion

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 September 11th, featuring the NHL expansion to 14 teams.

Today in Hockey History

NHL Expansion Adds Sabres, Canucks

1969: The league approves the NHL expansion of the league from 12 to 14 teams. Buffalo and Vancouver join the league for the 1970-71 season. The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks are chosen out of a group that includes Atlanta, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland and Washington D.C.

Both teams enter the East Division while the Chicago Blackhawks go out West. The two teams have yet to win the Stanley Cup.

Other Notable Events

1943: The NHL approves its proposal for a Hall of Fame. A total of 12 charter members are honoured despite having no physical location. The Hall of Fame finds a home at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1961.

1967: The St. Louis Blues open their first training camp at the St. Louis Arena. A total of 29 pros and 28 amateurs attend the camp.

1993: The New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-3, in the first of two games at Wembley Arena in London. New York wins the second game and gets the French’s Mustard Cup.

1995: Larry Robinson headlines this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class. Fred “Bun” Cook, Bill Torrey, and Gunther Sabetzki also enter the Hall.

Chicago names defenceman Chris Chelios as its new team captain. He replaces the recently-retired Dirk Graham in the role.

1999: The Atlanta Thrashers defeat the Nashville Predators, 3-1, in their first exhibition game. Atlanta struggles in its opening season in the league with a 14-57-7-4 record to finish last in their division.

2001: The Los Angeles Kings and the hockey world are rocked by tragedy. Scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis die in the 9/11 terrorist attack that struck the World Trade Center. Bob Sweeney‘s sister-in-law Amy Sweeney is a flight attendant that also dies in the attack. Sweeney is a former player and director of the Boston Bruins Foundation.

2002: The Tampa Bay Lightning name Dave Andreychuk as the team’s seventh team captain. Andreychuk helps the team win its only Stanley Cup in team history in 2004.

2003: The Columbus Blue Jackets name Luke Richardson as the third captain in team history. Richardson goes to Toronto in March 2006 after one season-plus as captain.

Happy Birthday to You

1943: Butch Paul

1951: Miroslav Dvořák

1966: Craig Billington

1980: Mike Comrie

1986: Ben Scrivens

1994: Teuvo Teravainen


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