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This Date in NHL History

Sept. 1: Lemieux becomes Penguins owner

Plus: Hall of Famer Pitre born in Quebec

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1999: The NHL Board of Governors approves an application by Mario Lemieux for ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lemieux's move into ownership comes two years after he announces his retirement as a player in 1997. He is owed more than $32 million in deferred salary and converts much of that money into equity in the team, making him the first player in North American sports history to own the team he used to play for.

Lemieux assumes the posts of president, chairman and CEO of the Penguins, then adds the role of No. 1 center when he returns as a player on Dec. 27, 2000.

Video: Mario Lemieux after 3+ year absence



1883: Didier Pitre, a star for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey Association and the NHL, is born in Valleyfield, Quebec. Pitre, nicknamed "Cannonball" because of his speed and hard shot, helps the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history in 1916 and plays right wing on a line with Jack Laviolette and Newsy Lalonde that becomes known as the "Flying Frenchmen." The Canadiens join the NHL in 1917, and Pitre helps them advance to the Cup Final against Seattle two years later, though the series is abandoned because of an influenza epidemic. He moves to defense at age 38 and plays the final two of his 15 seasons with Montreal on the blue line before retiring in 1923. Pitre is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.


1964: Brian Bellows is born in St. Catharines, Ontario. Bellows, a high-scoring forward, is described by some as the hottest prospect since Wayne Gretzky during his junior career with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, and he's selected by the Minnesota North Stars with the No. 2 pick in the 1982 NHL Draft. Bellows scores at least 30 goals seven times in 10 seasons with Minnesota, including an NHL career-high 55 in 1989-90. The North Stars trade him to the Montreal Canadiens in 1992, and he scores 40 goals for Montreal's Stanley Cup-winning team in 1993. Bellows plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Washington Capitals before retiring in 1999 with 1,022 points (485 goals, 537 assists) in 1,188 NHL games. His son, forward Kieffer Bellows, is taken by the New York Islanders in the first round (No. 19) at the 2016 NHL Draft.

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