Today in Hockey History: Gary Bettman Becomes Commissioner

Gary Bettman
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Hockey is finally back! Normally we’d be closing in on the mid-way point of the regular season, however, 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 February 1st featuring Gary Bettman.

Today in Hockey History

Gary Bettman Takes Office

1993: Gary Bettman takes over the leadership role as the league’s first commissioner. He replaced Gil Stein, who served as the league’s final president. Bettman come over from the National Basketball Association, where he served the league’s general counsel and senior vice president.

NHL free agent frenzy

The league has seen expansion and league revenues go up, but there’s also been issues. Bettman has been part of three labour stoppages, including the lost 2004-05 season.

Other Notable Events

1947: New York Rangers goalie Chuck Rayner tries to take matters into his own hand with his offence struggling. Rayner skates the puck all the way up the ice, but is unsuccessful in a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

1964: Montreal forward Bobby Rousseau scores five goals in a 9-3 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s his first career hat trick and the only five-goal game between February 1955 and November 1968.

1970: Rangers goalie Terry Sawchuk gets his final career victory in a 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sawchuk makes 29 saves for his 445th win and 103rd shutout.

1977: The Canadiens Guy Lafleur starts a 28-game point streak with a goal and three assists in a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Barons. The streak lasts through the end of the 1976-77 season.

1980: Edmonton Oilers centre Wayne Gretzky gets his first NHL hat trick in a 9-2 rout of the Winnipeg Jets. It’s the first of a record 50 career hat tricks for Gretzky.

1992: New York Islanders defenceman Denis Potvin becomes the first from the 80’s dynasty to have his number retired. The league’s highest-scoring defenceman has his No. 5 sweater retired.

1997: Ray Bourque becomes the Boston Bruins all-time leading scorer with a goal in a 3-0 shutout over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bourque passes John Bucyk with his 1,340th career point.

2001: Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy becomes the first goalie to play in 40 games in 16 straight seasons. However, the Vancouver Canucks beat the Avalanche, 5-3.

2018: The Vegas Golden Knights set the record for the most wins by a first-year team. David Perron scores with 1:03 left in overtime to give Vegas a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Happy Birthday to You

1959: Mark Hardy

1968: Mark Recchi

1971: Tommy Salo

1972: Geoff Sanderson

1985: Patrick O’Sullivan

1990: Tyler Myers

1991:  Kyle Palmieri

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