Bourque played 22 seasons in the NHL, and holds the all-time records for most goals, assists and points for an NHL defenseman. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 which was his first year of eligibility. Bourque was drafted by the Boston Bruins 8th overall in 1979. He would go on the spend 21 seasons in Boston and in 1985 he was named a co- captain of the team. In 1988 he was named sole captain of the team; he would hold that title for the rest of his time in Boston. In his first year (1979-80) Bourque was named Rookie of the Year, a First Team All-Star and scored 65 points which was a record for rookies at the time. During his time with Boston he would win five Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman. His highest goals and points totals in one season was 31 goals and 96 points in 1983-84, his highest assists total in one season was 73 in 1990-91. Bourque would play in three Stanley Cup finals, his first two with Boston in 1988 and 1990 where his Bruins would lose to the Edmonton Oilers. In the 1999-00 season Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a chance to win a Stanley Cup. In the 2000-01 season Bourque would finally win the Stanley Cup in his last game in the NHL.
Guy Lafleur (HHOF ’88) — the Flower — had a 17-year NHL career spanning two decades, from 1971 until 1991. He spent the first 14 years with the Montreal Canadiens, followed by a three-year retirement, and then he came back to skate with the New York Rangers for one season and the Quebec Nordiques for two. He was the first NHL player to score 50+ goals and 100+ in six consecutive seasons, winning the Art Ross trophy three times, the Hart Trophy twice and the Conn Smythe once. He has the highest career points and assists of any Hab and is second in Canadiens goals only to Maurice Richard. As well, he reached 1000 points in 720 games, the fastest in NHL history. He won the Stanley Cup five times with Montreal five times, the city that retired his number 10 in 1984.
A star junior hockey defenceman with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, Clark was a member of Canada’s gold medal winning team at the 1985 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Clark was converted to forward after he was selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. His professional career lasted from 1985 until 2000, during which time he played for the Maple Leafs (during three separate stretches), Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.
LeClair played for four seasons at the University of Vermont, leading the team in goals, points and penalty minutes in his senior season in ‘90/’91 After his last game in the college ranks he was immediately called up to the Montreal Canadiens, the team that had drafted him 33rd overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. LeClair played 16 seasons in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Flyers, LeClair became the first American-born player to score 50 goals in three consecutive NHL seasons while playing on the Legion of Doom line with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. LeClair was a member of the Montreal Canadiens’ Stanley Cup winning team in 1993.
Al Iafrate was selected 4th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft He played 870 career NHL games over twelve NHL seasons, scoring 171 goals and 327 assists for 498 points. He also compiled 1378 penalty minutes. His best season statistically was the 1992–93 season, when he scored 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points when he was with the Washington Capitals and in a year that the Capitals set a record for most goals by defensemen on a team in one season. Al is perhaps most famous for his rocket slap shot that set the NHL Skills Competition record, which stood for 16 years, at 105.2 miles per hour (169.3 km/h).
Drafted as an underage player by the New York Islanders, Bryan Trottier played his first game in 1975. In his second game, he had a hat trick and five points! He finished the year breaking rookie-scoring records and easily won the Calder Trophy. In 1978, he was the league’s top scorer and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. In 1980, he won the first of four Islander Stanley Cups and picked up the Conn Smythe Trophy. He stayed in New York until 1990 when his defensive skills attracted the Pittsburgh Penguins. His presence was the missing link as Pittsburgh won two successive Cups in 1991 and 1992. He retired after the second cup but returned in 1993 as a player-coach. He then joined the Avalanche in 2000 as an assistant coach and won yet another ring. He is also one of only eight NHL players with multiple 5-goal games.
Duguay was drafted 13th overall in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers. In his rookie season with the Rangers, Duguay netted 20 goals and assisted on 20 others and quickly became entrenched as a fan favourite in New York. At the start of the 1983-84 season, Duguay was traded to the Detroit Red Wings where he played two 80-game seasons prior to being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins more than half way through the 1985-86 season. He returned to the Rangers in 1986 before moving to the West Coast and the Los Angeles Kings for the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. Ron played his last year in the NHL in 1989 but continued to play in the minors with the San Diego Gulls until he retired in 1998 at the age of 41.
Currently sitting at 9th all-time with 3043 career penalty minutes, Chris Nilan is one of the toughest players to lace up the skates. In 1978, the Boston native was drafted 231st overall by Montreal. Chris “Knuckles” Nilan spent his first season in the minors (AHL), until he was called up in the spring of 1980 to play with Montreal as they headed into the playoffs. Knuckles would spend seven-and-a-half seasons with the Canadiens, scoring a career-high 21 goals in 1985. Winning a Stanley Cup ring in 1986, Chris played on Team U.S.A. in the 1987 Canada Cup. In January 1988, he was traded to the New York Rangers; in 1990, he went to his hometown Boston Bruins. Midway through the 1991-1992 season, he was traded back to Montreal where he retired.
Terry O’ Reilly