Today in Hockey History: New Jersey Devils Unveil Viacheslav Fetisov

Viacheslav Fetisov
LANDOVER, MD - FEBRUARY 9: Viacheslav Fetisov #2 of the New Jersey Devils looks on during a hockey game against the Washington Capitals on February 9, 1990 at Captal Centre in Landover, Maryland. The Capitals won 2-0. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

During the NHL’s hiatus, we at 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 July 7th, featuring Viacheslav Fetisov.

Today in Hockey History

Viacheslav Fetisov Comes to New Jersey

1989: The New Jersey Devils show a pair of Soviet defencemen to the media. Fetisov finally comes to the states after years of lobbying the USSR government. He was drafted in the 1983 NHL Draft, but is denied an opportunity in North America.

The Devils also introduce Sergei Starikov at the news conference. However, he only plays 16 games with the team. Both players help usher in a wave of Russian players to the NHL. Alexei Kasatonov, who is Fetisov’s defence partner, is one of the early arrivals and plays 257 games in New Jersey. Fetisov is traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 1994-95 and wins two Stanley Cups as part of the Russian Five.

Other Notable Events

1954: Tommy Ivan is named the new general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Ivan was the Red Wings coach for the last seven seasons and replaces Bill Tobin.

1980: Veteran goalie Gerry Cheevers announces his retirement. He’s immediately named head coach of the Boston Bruins, as he replaces Harry Sinden.

1983: The Hartford Whalers name Jack Evans as their new head coach. He replaces John Cuniff behind the bench.

1992: Detroit signs free agent defenceman Mark Howe, who plays his final three years with the club. Mark’s father was the legendary Gordie Howe, who had a distinguished career with the team.

1995: The Philadelphia Flyers sign free agent defenceman Kjell Samuelsson for another stint. Samuelsson had played the last three seasons with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.

1997: The Flyers pick Wayne Cashman as the team’s new head coach. He replaces the recently fired Terry Murray. Keith Acton is named as associate coach.

2004: The Colorado Avalanche name Joel Quenneville as their new head coach. He replaces Tony Granato behind the bench, who stays on as an assistant. Colorado finishes with 95 points in each of the three seasons that Quenneville is in charge. However, he leaves in May 2008 to join the Blackhawks. He wins three Stanley Cups in Chicago in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Happy Birthday to You

1965: Randy Smith

1966: Jack Capuano; Tony Hrkac

1969: Joe Sakic

1973: Kārlis Skrastiņš

1974: Patrick Lalime

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