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 26th, featuring Alex Ovechkin.
Today in Hockey History
Alex Ovechkin Drafted First by Capitals
2004: The Russian winger goes first to the Washington Capitals at the 2004 NHL Draft in Raleigh, N.C. He’d have to wait until 2005-06 to debut thanks to the lockout. However, he scored 52 goals and won the Calder Trophy for top rookie. Ovechkin has three Hart Trophies for league MVP and a Stanley Cup. He’s the first Russian to reach 500 goals made the 700 club in Feb. 2020.
Longtime rival Evgeni Malkin goes second to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His resume has a Calder in 2007, three Stanley Cups and a 2009 Conn Smythe. Ovechkin would get a Conn Smythe in 2018 when the Capitals finally won the Cup
Other Notable Events
1993: Alexandre Daigle is drafted first overall by the Ottawa Senators. Daigle gets 20 goals in 51 points in his rookie campaign. However, he ends up with 129 goals in 616 games for his career. Chris Pronger is taken second by the Hartford Whalers and becomes a Hall of Famer in 2015.
1999: The newly minted Atlanta Thrashers take Patrik Stefan with the first overall pick. However, the Vancouver Canucks strike gold with twins Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin at second and third, respectively. The Detroit Red Wings unearth a gem in Henrik Zetterberg with the 210th overall pick.
2001: Former Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche defenceman Ray Bourque retires after 22 seasons in the league. Bourque gets his elusive ring and retires with more goals (410), assists (1,169), and points (1,579) than any blueliner in NHL history.
2015: The Edmonton Oilers select Connor McDavid with the top pick of the draft. McDavid wins the scoring crown in his second and third seasons in the league. The Buffalo Sabres get a nice consolation prize in Jack Eichel from Boston University. Dylan Strome, who would become a teammate of McDavid, goes third to the Arizona Coyotes.
2018: Willie O’Ree is one of six names added to the Hall of Fame. O’Ree is the first black player in the league and a longtime diversity ambassador. Commissioner Gary Bettman is added in the Builder category. Other inductees are Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Soviet player Alexander Yakushev and women’s player Jayna Hefford.
Happy Birthday to You
1895: George Hainsworth
1966: Kirk McLean
1976: Ed Jovanovski
1984: Cody McLeod
1997: Ethan Bear