THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Aug. 31
1931: Jean Beliveau, a member of 17 Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Montreal Canadiens and a hockey immortal on and off the ice, is born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.
Beliveau spurns several contract offers from the Canadiens in order to stay with the Quebec Aces of the amateur Quebec Senior Hockey League in the early 1950s; the Canadiens finally buy the QSHL in 1953 and turn it into a pro league to secure his rights. Beliveau plays on 10 Cup-winning teams with the Canadiens; the final one is in 1971, after which he retires following 18 NHL seasons. He finishes with 1,219 points (507 goals, 712 assists) in 1,125 NHL games and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 after the Hall waives its mandatory three-year waiting period.
Following his retirement, Beliveau joins Montreal's front office and is part of seven more Cup-winning teams. He is a hero to many Canadians and beloved throughout hockey during his post-playing career before his death on Dec. 2, 2014. In 2017, he is named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
Video: Jean Beliveau's name is on Stanley Cup 17 times
1973: Scott Niedermayer, a four-time Stanley Cup winner and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, is born in Edmonton. The New Jersey Devils select Niedermayer, a speedy defenseman, No. 3 in the 1991 NHL Draft; he becomes a regular in 1992 and plays on three Stanley Cup-winning teams with New Jersey and another with the Anaheim Ducks before his retirement in 2010. Niedermayer is a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won an IIHF World Championship and an Olympic gold medal to go along with his four Stanley Cup championships. He also plays on teams that win the IIHF World Junior Championship, the Memorial Cup and the 2004 Canada Cup. Niedermayer finishes his career with 740 points (172 goals, 568 assists) in 1,263 NHL games; he wins the Norris Trophy in 2004 and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007.
Video: Scott Niedermayer was known for his smooth skating
1995: The New York Rangers acquire left wing Luc Robitaille and defenseman Ulf Samuelsson from the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Petr Nedved and defenseman Sergei Zubov. Robitaille scores 23 and 24 goals in two seasons with the Rangers before they trade him back to the Los Angeles Kings, his first NHL team. He retires in 2006 and is inducted into the Hall of Fame three years later.
2005: Alex Ovechkin, the first player taken in the 2004 NHL Draft, signs a three-year, entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. The Moscow-born forward is an instant hit, scoring twice in his NHL debut, finishing his first season with 52 goals and winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. He goes on to become the NHL's all-time leading scorer among players born in Russia and powers the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2018, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.