THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 27
1879: Jack Laviolette, the first captain and coach of the Montreal Canadiens, is born.
Laviolette grows up in Valleyfield, Quebec, and takes up hockey at an early age. He excels as an offensive defenseman for teams in Montreal and Michigan but receives an offer he can’t refuse in the fall of 1909 when he’s asked to put together a French-speaking team to go along with two English-speaking teams in the National Hockey Association (the predecessor of the NHL). He’s tasked with recruiting players as well as serving as captain and coach.
The Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history in 1916. Laviolette’s last season with the Canadiens is 1917-18, the franchise’s first in the newly formed NHL. He’s elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962, two years after his death.
Pronger, the No. 2 player taken in the 1993 NHL Draft, blossoms during his nine seasons in St. Louis. He spends 2005-06 with the Edmonton Oilers, helping them get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, then is traded to the Anaheim Ducks on July 3, 2006 and helps them win the Cup in 2007. Pronger spends three seasons with the Ducks and three more with the Philadelphia Flyers before injuries force him to end his playing career in December 2012. He is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Shanahan scores 44 goals for Hartford in 1995-96, but he’s traded to the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 9, 1996, and scores 46 in his first season with Detroit, helping the Red Wings end a 42-year Stanley Cup drought. Shanahan also plays on Detroit’s Cup-winning teams in 1998 and 2002. He finishes his career by playing 34 games for the New Jersey Devils, who took him with the No. 2 pick in the 1987 NHL Draft, and ends up with 1,354 points (656 goals, 698 assists) in 1,524 NHL games. He is inducted into the Hall in 2013.