Aug. 26: Orr signs record contract with Bruins
Plus: Hockey Hall of Fame opens in Toronto; Gartner announces retirement from NHLby John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor
THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Aug. 26
1971: Bobby Orr becomes the NHL's first million-dollar man when he signs a new contract with the Boston Bruins.
Orr, coming off a record-setting 139-point season in 1970-71, is already the NHL's highest-paid player. But he breaks new ground by signing a contract with the Bruins that will pay him $200,000 for each of the next five seasons, a total of $1 million.
The contract more than pays for itself; Orr helps the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1972 and scores at least 101 points in each of the first four seasons before knee injuries limit him to 10 games in 1975-76.
Video: Bobby Orr revolutionized defensive position
1961: The Hockey Hall of Fame officially opens its doors at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and United States Ambassador Livingston Merchant preside over the opening. The Hall celebrates by inducting nine new members: Maurice Richard, Syl Apps, Charlie Conacher, Hap Day, George Hainsworth, Joe Hall, Percy LeSueur, Milt Schmidt and Oliver Seibert. The Hall remains at the CNE for nearly 32 years before moving to BCE Place in Toronto in June 1993.
1998: Mike Gartner officially retires from the NHL after 19 seasons, finishing as the fifth-highest goal-scorer in League history with 708. The last 12 goals come with the Phoenix Coyotes, his fifth NHL team, in 1997-98. Gartner begins his NHL career with the Washington Capitals in 1979 and continues with the Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Coyotes. Though he owns the NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons (17) and is part of two Canada Cup-winning teams, Gartner never wins the Stanley Cup. However, he is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 and named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.