Today in Hockey History: Edmonton Oilers Acquire Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky

We’re normally starting up another hockey season, but we’re in a different world. Last Word on Hockey is 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 November 2nd, featuring Wayne Gretzky.

Today in Hockey History

Wayne Gretzky Becomes an Oiler

1978: The Edmonton Oilers acquire the young centre from the Indianapolis Racers because of Indy’s financial troubles. Racers owner Nelson Skalbania sells Gretzky, Eddie Mio and Peter Driscoll to Edmonton. Gretzky finishes the season with 110 points (46 goals, 64 assists) and is named the last WHA Rookie of the Year.

Edmonton becomes one of the four teams from the WHA to merge into the NHL in 1979-80. Gretzky becomes a cornerstone of the Oilers’ dynasty of the 1980’s that won three Stanley Cups.

Other Notable Events

1937: The second All-Star game is held at the Montreal Forum as a benefit to the family of Howie Morenz. A crowd of 8,683 watches the NHL All-Stars win 6-5 against a mixed team of Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons.

1968: Montreal wins in the newly renovated Forum with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Jean Beliveau scores the opening goal in the remodeled building just 4:38 into the first period.

1969: Gordie Howe scores his 19th and final career hat trick in Detroit’s 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Howe becomes the oldest player to get a hat trick at age 41.

1975: Former New York Rangers goalie Ed Giacomin returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since being acquired by Detroit. He makes 42 saves in a 6-4 Red Wings victory.

1977: Dennis Maruk becomes the fourth player in NHL history to score at least four goals in a game and account for all his team’s scoring. Maruk’s four goals help the Cleveland Barons get a 4-4 tie with the St. Louis Blues.

1982: Pittsburgh ends the New York Islanders 30-game unbeaten streak at home with a 2-1 win at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders went 28-0-2 during the run.

2006: Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild becomes the first goalie in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to earn his first two victories before making his first start. He comes in for Manny Fernandez and stops 19 shots in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

2014: Michael Frolik of the Winnipeg Jets scores the game’s only goal just 20 seconds into the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Frolik sets a NHL record for the earliest goal scored in a game that ends 1-0.

Happy Birthday to You

1906: Paul Thompson

1921: Bill Mosienko

1953: Rick Meagher

1973: Jason Smith

1974: Ruslan Salei

1976: Matt Cullen

1989: Luke Schenn

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images