With the NHL All-Star game approaching, we wanted to call attention to an All-Star game played back on January 25th, 1972. The ’71-‘72 season was a busy year for the National Hockey League. A rival league, the World Hockey Association (WHA), was in the midst of starting their inaugural season and was working to steal big name players from the NHL. In an effort to one up its new competition, the NHL announced two new expansion teams, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames. Despite the distractions of the WHA, the NHL had a highly competitive season ’71-’72 and still drew the world’s best talent in the game of hockey. Bobby Hull would score his 600th NHL goal, and Gary Cheevers would set a Boston Bruins record for most consecutive wins with 33 straight victories (a record that still stands today).
For the All-Star game, the game itself would act as a tune up game for the ’72 Summit against the Soviet Nationals. 21 of the 38 players in the All-Star game would go on to play for Team Canada in the ’72 Summit. NHL greats like Bobby Clarke, Phil Esposito, Ken Dryden, Bobby Orr all played in this East vs West Division battle. The game itself was held in the Mets Sports Center, home of the Minnesota North Stars in Bloomington, Minnesota.
All-Star games of today aren’t like the All-Star games of the 70s. Not to say that you could keep your head on a swivel, but you certainly couldn’t keep your head down like in today’s game. In the ’72 All-Star game, there were several tripping and hooking penalties and the game was relatively low scoring. In the end, eventually Norris Trophy winner Bobby Orr set up Boston Bruins teammate Phil Esposito for the game winning goal early in the 3rd period, and the East Division beat the West Division 3-2. Later that season, Team Canada would also go on to beat the Soviet Nationals in the ’72 Summit.
January 25, 2011 | E-mail | Comments
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nhl, all-star, nhl all-star, 1972, wha, new york islanders, atlanta flames, bobby clarke, phil esposito, ken dryden, bobby oor, minnesota north stars, gary cheevers