September 12 NHL History
1941: The New York Americans officially change the designation of their home city to Brooklyn for the 1941-42 season. The Americans practice in Brooklyn and have their offices there, though they continue to play their home games at Madison Square Garden. The franchise hopes to build a new arena in Brooklyn, but World War II forces the Americans to postpone those plans. In their one season as the Brooklyn Americans, they finish 16-29-3, last in the seven-team NHL. However, the Americans suspend operations in 1942 and later fold, leaving the League with what became known as the Original Six.
1979: At age 31, Bobby Orr becomes the youngest member to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The honor comes less than a year after Orr plays his final NHL game on Nov. 8, 1978 before being forced to retire because of knee injuries. Ironically, one of the other inductees is longtime NHL defenseman Harry Howell, the last player to win the Norris Trophy before Orr wins it eight years in a row from 1967-75. Also inducted are Montreal Canadiens center Henri Richard and Gordon Juckes, who’s honored as a builder.
2005: Mark Messier announces his retirement after 25 seasons in the NHL.
Though Messier is a key figure in the Edmonton Oilers run of five Stanley Cup championships in seven seasons from 1983-84 through 1989-90, he makes a bigger splash with the New York Rangers after being acquired in a trade with the Oilers on Oct. 4, 1991. Messier wins the Hart Trophy as MVP in his first season with the Rangers; two years later, he scores the winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks to give New York its first championship since 1940.
Messier finishes his NHL career with 1,887 points (694 goals, 1,193 assists) in 1,756 games. Only longtime teammate Wayne Gretzky has more points at the time Messier retires, and only Gordie Howe has played in more games.
“It’s been a long career and I’ve achieved a lot,” said Messier, 44. “There was nothing really left of me to achieve.”
The Rangers announce they will retire Messier’s No. 11 on Jan. 12, 2006 prior to a game against the Oilers.