The Boston Bruins have announced that former right winger Rick Middleton will have his number retired in the 2018-19 season.
Boston Bruins to retire jersey number of Rick Middleton
Middleton, who wore the number 16, played for the Bruins from 1976-1988. During his time in Boston, Middleton, nicknamed “Nifty”, finished with 402 goals and 496 assists in 881 games. The Toronto native wore the captain’s ‘C’ alongside Ray Bourque following Terry O’Reilly‘s retirement.
Middleton was drafted in 1973 by the New York Rangers and traded to Boston three years later in a deal for Ken Hodge. Boston received a much younger and speedier player in Middleton, who would lead the team with Bourque, who’s number 77 is also retired by the Bruins. Middleton’s highest-scoring season came in 1981, when he notched 51 goals. He also won the Lady Byng trophy for that season as the player who displayed the most sportsmanship while playing.
“It hit me like a sledgehammer. It’s a special, special honor,” Middleton said in an interview with the Bruins.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 31, 2018
Middleton left his mark on the NHL with a few unbroken records. He still holds the title of most points in one playoff series with 19 – one more point than Wayne Gretzky. He also holds the record for most assists in a playoff series with 14.
Middleton’s career in the NHL was cut short after receiving a blow to the head from a puck in a Bruins practice. He would skate again in a Bruins uniform, but suffered from frequent headaches that caused him to retire.
The Bruins will be playing the New York Islanders on the day that number 16 will be immortalized in the Bruins franchise.
Middleton will be the 12th number to be retired by the Boston Bruins. On Nov. 29, the Bruins will raise the number 16 to the rafters alongside some of Boston’s most noteable players, like Milt Schmidt, Cam Neely and Middleton’s predecessor, Terry O’Reilly.
Main Image Credit: