THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Aug. 3
1951: Marcel Dionne, one of eight members of the NHL's 700-goal club, is born in Drummondville, Quebec.
Dionne is selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the No. 2 pick in the 1971 NHL Draft and makes a splash in his rookie season by finishing with 77 points (28 goals, 49 assists). That turns out to be his lowest point total in four seasons with Detroit, but after a 47-goal, 121-point performance in 1974-75, he joins the Los Angeles Kings. Dionne scores 50 goals six times and has seven 100-point seasons with the Kings, most of them centering the "Triple Crown Line" with Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor. He wins the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer in 1979-80; he and Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers tie for the League lead with 137 points, but Dionne scores 53 goals to Gretzky's 51.
Dionne is traded to the New York Rangers on March 10, 1987, scores 31 goals the following season and retires after 1988-89 with 1,771 points (731 goals, 1,040 assists) in 1,348 NHL games. Dionne is a two-time First-Team NHL All-Star, wins the Lady Byng Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award twice each, and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, though he never comes close to playing on a Stanley Cup winner.
Video: Marcel Dionne was "offensive genius"
1896: Gerry Geran, the first U.S.-born player to skate in an NHL game, is born in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Geran, a center playing amateur hockey in Boston, signs with the Montreal Wanderers and has no points in four games in 1917-18, the NHL's first season. He resumes his amateur career, helps the United States win the silver medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, then returns to the League with the Boston Bruins in 1925-26, finishing with six points (five goals, one assist) in 33 games.
1966: The NHL's new Philadelphia franchise, one of six awarded earlier in the year, chooses "Flyers" as its name. Owner Ed Snider likes the name after it's suggested by his sister. Although Snider has decided what the new franchise will be named, he still runs a name-the-team contest that lasts 10 days to generate publicity, with the winner chosen from among those who suggest "Fliers" or "Flyers." Alec Stockard, a 9-year-old who submits an entry with "Fliers" as his suggested name, is declared the winner.