THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Aug. 8
Two members of the Hockey Hall of Fame share this birthday.
1927: Defenseman Bill Gadsby is born in Calgary. Gadsby comes to the NHL as a 19-year-old with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1946 after being signed as a free agent, is traded to the New York Rangers on Nov. 23, 1954, and to the Detroit Red Wings on June 12, 1961. He plays in the NHL All-Star Game eight times, is selected as a First-Team All-Star three times and a Second-Team All-Star four times, and ends his NHL career with 568 points (130 goals, 438 assists) in 1,248 games during 20 seasons. The only thing that eludes Gadsby is playing on a Stanley Cup-winning team; he gets to the Final three times with Detroit without success. Gadsby is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970.
1947: Goalie Ken Dryden is born in Hamilton, Ontario. Dryden spends just seven full seasons in the NHL after joining the Montreal Canadiens for the final six games of 1970-71, but wins the Stanley Cup six times. Dryden wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after helping the Canadiens win the Cup in 1971, then wins the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1971-72. With Dryden in goal, the Canadiens win the Cup again in 1973 and take home four straight championships from 1976-79. Dryden retires after the 1979 championship; he is 258-57 with 74 ties, a 2.24 goals-against average and 46 shutouts in 397 NHL games. He wins the Vezina Trophy five times and is inducted into the Hall in 1983. In 2017, he's named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
Video: Ken Dryden won Conn Smythe before he won Calder
1977: Charlie Simmer, a left wing who's played 80 NHL games during the previous three seasons with the California Seals/Cleveland Barons franchise, signs as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings. Simmer doesn't earn a full-time job with the Kings until midway through the 1978-79 season, but winds up as the left wing on the "Triple Crown Line" with center Marcel Dionne and right wing Dave Taylor. He scores 56 goals in 1979-80 and 1980-81, earning First-Team All-Star honors each time; with 101 and 105 points, he also becomes the first left wing in NHL history to surpass 100 points in consecutive seasons. The Kings trade Simmer to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 24, 1984 and he retires after playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987-88, finishing with 711 points (342 goals, 369 assists) in 712 NHL games.
2018: Stan Mikita, the all-time scoring leader in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, dies at age 78. Mikita comes to Canada from Czechoslovakia as a boy, is adopted by his aunt and uncle, and grows into one of the NHL's most dynamic offensive players, even though at 5-foot-9 and 169 pounds he lacks the flash and dash of longtime teammate Bobby Hull. He joins the Blackhawks in 1958-59 and helps them end a 23-year Stanley Cup drought in 1961. He wins the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer four times in five seasons from 1963-64 through 1967-68, and wins the Ross, Hart and Lady Byng trophies in 1966-67 and 1967-68, the only instances in NHL history that's been done. He retires in 1980 as the third-leading scorer in NHL history and is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983. Mikita is named a team ambassador in 2007 and is selected as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.