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This Date in NHL History

Sept. 4: Campbell becomes NHL president

Plus: Geoffrion hired as Canadiens coach; Rangers goalie Richter retires

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1946: Clarence Campbell becomes president of the NHL. He replaces Red Dutton, who holds the office for three years after Frank Calder dies.

Campbell spends the next 31 years as president, helping a league that has six teams when he takes over grow to 18 when he retires on June 22, 1977, 11 years after he's inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

During his tenure, the NHL adds an annual All-Star Game and an amateur draft, and it navigates the challenge of the World Hockey Association in the 1970s. The NHL also increases its regular season from 50 games to 60 for the 1946-47 season; that number increases to 70 for the 1949-50 season and ends up at 80 in 1974-75.



1972: Canada evens the Summit Series at one win apiece by defeating the Soviet Union 4-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Coach Harry Sinden makes a number of lineup changes after a 7-3 loss in Game 1, including a switch to Tony Esposito in goal after Ken Dryden loses the opening game. Phil Esposito gives Canada a 1-0 lead after two periods, and goals by Yvan Cournoyer, Peter Mahovlich and Frank Mahovlich in the first nine minutes of the third put the game away. Peter Mahovlich's shorthanded goal at 6:47 is the backbreaker; it gives Canada a 3-1 lead.


1979: The Montreal Canadiens name one of their former stars, Bernie Geoffrion, as coach. He replaces Scotty Bowman, who leaves to become coach and general manager of the Buffalo Sabres after guiding the Canadiens to their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup. The job is the realization of a dream for Geoffrion, a star with the Canadiens in the 1950s and early 1960s; however, he lasts all of 30 games before being forced to step down for health reasons.


2003: Mike Richter, who helps the New York Rangers end a 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994, announces his retirement. The 36-year-old ends his career after sustaining two concussions in a span of eight months. He finishes as the Rangers' all-time leader with 301 victories (a total later surpassed by Henrik Lundqvist). In addition to helping the Rangers win the Cup, he is named the MVP of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey after his performance sparks the United States to a first-place finish. The Rangers retire his No. 35 on Feb. 4, 2004.

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