During the NHL’s hiatus, we at the Last Word on Hockey are 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 June 23rd, featuring Wayne Gretzky.
Today in Hockey History
Wayne Gretzky Selected for Hall of Fame
1999: The Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers great is named to the Hall of Fame. Gretzky has the three-year waiting period waived to be part of the Class of 99. He joins referee Andy van Hellemond and longtime NHL referee and hockey executive Ian “Scotty” Morrison.
The Great One retired only two months earlier after his third season in New York. Some of his records include career marks in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857). He also holds the single-season records in all three categories.
Other Notable Events
1975: The Kings sign free agent Marcel Dionne after obtaining him and Bart Crashley from the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit gets Dan Maloney and Terry Harper as compensation. Dionne plays a dozen years for Los Angeles and gets 100 points in seven seasons.
The Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets also hold their expansion drafts in Calgary.
2001: The Thrashers take Ilya Kovalchuk with the top pick of the 2001 NHL Draft. He’s the first Russian to be drafted with the top overall pick. Kovalchuk scores 29 goals in his first season and has two 52-goal seasons with the team. The Ottawa Senators take Jason Spezza with the second choice as part of the Alexei Yashin deal with the New York Islanders.
2017: The New Jersey Devils select Nico Hischier with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft. He becomes the first Swiss player to be taken with the first overall selection. The forward gets 20 goals and 52 points in his rookie season with New Jersey. Nolan Patrick goes second to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Happy Birthday to You
1896: Reg Noble
1900:John Ross Roach
1923: Gaye Stewart
1958: Larry Playfair
1971: Felix Potvin
1982: Derek Boogaard
1983: Brooks Laich
1994: Charles Hudon