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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 16: Gordie Howe makes NHL debut

Plus: Norm Ullman gets 1,000th point, Mike Gartner scores first goal

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1946: Gordie Howe makes an instant impact in his first NHL game.

The 18-year-old scores a goal and gets into two fights during the Detroit Red Wings' 3-3 tie with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Howe wears No. 17 to score the first of his 801 NHL goals. The last one comes April 9, 1980, when Howe, now 52, is playing for the Hartford Whalers.



1960: Forward Jerry Toppazzini of the Boston Bruins becomes the last non-goaltender to play goalie. He steps in after Don Simmons is injured with 30 seconds remaining in the third period of a 5-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, but does not face any shots.


1971: Norm Ullman of the Toronto Maple Leafs becomes the fourth NHL player to reach 1,000 career points. Ullman has two assists during a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.


1979: Rookie forward Mike Gartner scores his first NHL goal in the Washington Capitals' 8-6 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Gartner has 36 goals in his first season and finishes his career with 708.


1986: Denis Potvin is credited with the 684th assist of his NHL career, breaking a tie with Brad Park for the most by a defenseman in League history. He reaches the milestone during the New York Islanders' 7-4 win against the Capitals at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The record-setting assist comes exactly 13 years after Potvin's first NHL point.


1988: Hockey Hall of Fame member Guy Lafleur scores his first NHL goal in three years, 11 months and 22 days. It's also his first with the New York Rangers after spending 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and retiring in 1984. Lafleur finishes with a goal and an assist to help the Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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