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.
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