Bobby Orr: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born March 20, 1948 (1948-03-20) (age 61),
Parry Sound, ON, CAN
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Pro clubs Boston Bruins
Chicago Black Hawks
Ntl. team  Canada
Playing career 1966 – 1978
Hall of Fame, 1979

Robert Gordon "Bobby" Orr, OC (born March 20, 1948) is a retired ice hockey player. A defenceman, he is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest hockey players of all time.[1][2] His National Hockey League (NHL) career included two seasons with the Chicago Black Hawks and the rest of his career with the Boston Bruins.

Orr won two Stanley Cup championships with the Bruins when Boston defeated the St. Louis Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals in four games and the New York Rangers in the 1972 Stanley Cup Finals in six games, scoring the clinching goals in both series, and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP both years.[3] He also led Boston to the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. Winning a record eight straight Norris Trophies as the league's best defenceman, Orr is often credited for revolutionizing his position.[4] He remains the only defenceman to have won the league scoring title with two Art Ross Trophies and holds the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenceman. Orr also won three consecutive Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player, helping Boston to three regular season first-place finishes.

After his retirement, he became a player agent, with partners Paul Krepelka and Rick Curran. Their Orr Hockey Group was incorporated in 2002 and represents 33 active NHL players (fourth most of any agency) that include Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Cam Ward, and Jeff Carter.[5]




Early life

Orr was born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada, and displayed his hockey talents from an early age. He started skating and playing shinny at age four. Bobby was discovered by the Boston Bruins at a bantam tournament in Ontario, prompting the club to invest $1,000 to sponsor his team and earn his rights.[4] He was signed by the Bruins at age fourteen and as a sixteen-year-old, played for the Oshawa Generals in the junior league Ontario Hockey Association, competing against eighteen-, nineteen- and twenty-year-olds; National Hockey League rules dictated that he could not join the Boston Bruins before reaching eighteen. In his third season, Orr led the Generals to the OHA championship, winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup, and competing in the Memorial Cup Final in 1966. In his final season with Oshawa, he averaged two points per game. Toronto lawyer Alan Eagleson negotiated Orr's first contract with the Bruins, a $25,000 salary at a time when the typical maximum rookie salary was $8,000.[4] At the time, it made Orr the highest-paid player in league history.

Bruins career

In his first professional season, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's outstanding rookie. Late in the season, however, he missed nine games with a knee injury — presaging such woes through his career — when Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Marcel Pronovost checked him into the boards. While the perennially cellar-dwelling Bruins finished in last place that season, Orr sparked a renaissance that propelled the Bruins to make the playoffs the following twenty-nine straight seasons. New York Rangers defenceman Harry Howell, winner of the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman in Orr's rookie year, predicted that he was glad to win when he did, because "Orr will own this trophy from now on."[4]

An injury to his right knee limited Orr to just 46 games in the 1968 season; he nonetheless won the first of a record eight consecutive Norris trophies.

In 1970, he doubled his scoring total from the previous season, to 120 points, six shy of the league record and became the first (and to date, only) defenceman in history to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer. In addition to the Norris and the Art Ross, Orr captured the first of three consecutive Hart Trophies as regular-season MVP and later won the Conn Smythe Trophy for his playoff performance, becoming the first player in history to win four major NHL awards in one season.

Orr went on to lead the Bruins in a march through the playoffs that culminated on May 10, 1970, when he scored one of the most famous goals in hockey history – one that gave Boston its first Stanley Cup since 1941. The goal came off a give-and-go pass with teammate Derek Sanderson at the 40-second mark of the first overtime period in Game Four, helping to complete a sweep of the St. Louis Blues. The subsequent image of a horizontal Orr flying through the air, his arms raised in victory – as he made the shot, he had been tripped by Blues' defenceman Noel Picard while watching the puck pass by goaltender Glenn Hall – became a prize-winning photograph and is arguably the most famous and recognized hockey image of all time.

Bobby Orr scoring "The Goal" against the St. Louis Blues, winning the 1969–70 Stanley Cup.

The following year, 1971, in a season when the powerhouse Bruins shattered dozens of league offensive records, Orr finished second in league scoring while setting records that still stand for points in a season by a defenceman and for plus/minus (+124) by any position player. Orr's Bruins were heavy favourites to repeat as Cup champions, but were upset by the Montreal Canadiens and their rookie goaltender Ken Dryden.

Orr led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup again in 1972, leading the league in scoring in the playoffs and scoring the championship-winning goal en route to his second Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, making him the first two-time winner of this award.

His knee problems would take an increasing toll after 1973. Despite being limited by knee injuries which would later force him to retire prematurely, he led the Bruins to another first-place finish in the regular season and the Stanley Cup final in 1974, where they lost to Philadelphia Flyers.

In 1976, despite several knee operations that left him playing in severe pain, Orr was named the most valuable player in the Canada Cup international competition.

Free agency, and the move to Chicago

The Bruins offered Orr one of the most lucrative contracts in sports history, including over 18% ownership in the Bruins organization. However, Eagleson, who by this time was doubling as Orr's agent and executive director of the NHLPA, falsely told Orr that the Chicago Black Hawks had a better deal.[6] Conventional wisdom in NHL circles has long held that Eagleson never told Orr about the Bruins' offer of part-ownership.[citation needed] It is believed, however, by Eagleson's public disclosure of the Bruins' ownership offer - for example, the day before Orr signed with Chicago, Eagleson was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying "[Boston] offered a five-year deal at $925,000 or 18.6 percent ownership of the club in 1980." Then on June 9, 1976, after Orr had signed with Chicago, Eagleson told the Toronto Globe and Mail that "Orr was to receive $925,000 in cash payable in June 1980. That was to be a cash payment or involve Orr's receiving 18.6 percent of the Bruins stock." [7]

Then-Bruins head coach Don Cherry suggested that the reason Orr never re-signed with the Bruins was that he had complete trust in Eagleson at the time (Orr said that he described Eagleson as a brother); as Cherry recalled Orr had refused to speak with the Bruins team president directly, allowing Eagleson to mislead or withhold enough details from Boston's offer. [8] Orr's departure from the Bruins was considered acrimonious, and the two have not formally reconciled.[6] Years later, it emerged that Eagleson had very good relations with Black Hawks owner Bill Wirtz and NHL president John Ziegler that colluded to hold back salaries of certain players.

Orr subsequently signed with Chicago, but his injuries rendered him too severely hurt to play effectively, and, after playing in only 26 games over the next three seasons, he retired in 1979. Famously, he never cashed a Chicago paycheck, stating that he was paid to play hockey and would not accept a salary if he was not playing.[9]

Orr retired having scored 270 goals and 645 assists in 657 games, adding 953 penalty minutes. At the time of his retirement, he was the leading defenceman in league history in goals, assists and points, tenth overall in assists and 19th in points. The only players in league history to have averaged more points per game than Orr are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy, all of them forwards.

Style of play

Orr inspired the game of hockey with his command of the two-way game, which was unique for a defenceman. Defencemen with goal-scoring ability were not common in the NHL before his arrival. Orr was unique because he could score goals as well, and he influenced countless defencemen who followed him. His speed – most notably a rapid acceleration – and his open-ice artistry electrified fans as he set almost every conceivable record for a defenceman.

Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden described of Orr: "When he began to move...the sensation was unique: All the Canadiens began backpedaling in a small panic, like beachgoers sighting a coming monster wave. He brought others with him; he wanted them involved. That's what made him so different: It felt like a five-player stampede moving toward you—and at his pace. He pushed his teammates, [because] you're playing with the best player in the league and he's giving you the puck and you just can't mess it up. You had to be better than you'd ever been." [10]

In contrast to the style of hanging-back defensive play common in the later 1950s and 1960s, Orr was known for his fluid skating and end-to-end rushing. Orr's rushing enabled him to be where the puck was, allowing him not only to score effectively but also to defend when necessary. According to longtime Bruins coach and general manager Harry Sinden, "Bobby became a star in the NHL about the time they played the National Anthem for his first game with us."[11]

Orr also benefited from playing most of his career in Boston Garden, which was nine feet (2.7 m) shorter and two feet (0.6 m) narrower than the standard NHL rink. This suited his rushing style very well, as he was able to get from one end of the ice to the other faster than in a standard rink.[12]

His style of play was also hard on his knees and shortened his career. [13] "It was the way I played," Orr has said. "I liked to carry the puck and if you do that, you're going to get hit. I wish I'd played longer, but I don't regret it." Orr stated in 2008. "I had a style — when you play, you play all-out. I tried to do things. I didn't want to sit back. I wanted to be involved." [14]


Orr's exhibit at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 1999.

By 1978, Orr had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries, was having trouble walking and barely skated any more. He ultimately came to the conclusion that he could no longer play and informed the Blackhawks that he was retiring.(He scored his last NHL goal, and point, against Detroit on Oct. 28th, 1978, at Detroit's Olympia Stadium.) The NHL waived the mandatory three-year waiting period for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame and he was enshrined at age 31 – the youngest player living at the time of his induction in history,[15] and one of only ten players to get in without having to wait three years. "Losing Bobby", said Gordie Howe, "was the greatest blow the National Hockey League has ever suffered." One of Orr's lasting legacies is that his popularity helped to cement the expansion of the NHL in America. His number 4 jersey was retired by the Bruins in January 1979. At the ceremony, the crowd at Boston Garden would not stop applauding and as a result, most of the evening's program had to be scrapped at the last second owing to the constant cheering.

Orr was known to be fiercely loyal to former Bruin personnel and teammates. When Derek Sanderson had alcohol and drug-abuse problems and wound up penniless, Orr spent his own money to ensure that Sanderson successfully completed rehab. Decades late, Orr and Sanderson went into business together managing finances for hockey players. Orr also helped out Bruins trainer John (Frosty) Forristall, his roommate during his first years with the Bruins, who had just been fired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for alcoholism in 1994. Forristall's drinking put him on bad terms with his brother John, so he returned to Boston jobless and soon afterwards was diagnosed with brain cancer. Orr took Forristall into his home for a year until he passed away at age 51. Orr was a pallbearer at his funeral. [16]

Orr has been honoured with his name recorded on Canada's Walk of Fame. A museum exists in his honour in his hometown of Parry Sound, called the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame; also named in his honor is The Bobby Orr Community Center [17] In 1979, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Orr later played a role in the exposure of Alan Eagleson's misconduct over the years. He had once considered Eagleson a "big brother", but broke with him after suspecting that Eagleson was not being truthful. Shortly after Orr retired in 1979, an independent accountant revealed that Orr's liabilities exceeded his assets, leaving him essentially bankrupt despite being supposedly one of the highest-paid players in the NHL. Orr did eventually restore his finances, thanks to endorsement contracts and public relations work. [18]

In addition to misleading his clients about contract terms, Eagleson used the NHLPA pension fund to enrich himself. Eventually, Eagleson was convicted in American and Canadian courts and sentenced to eighteen months in a Canadian prison, of which he served six months. Orr was one of nineteen former players who threatened to resign from the Hall of Fame if Eagleson was not removed. Facing certain expulsion, Eagleson resigned from the Hall shortly after his conviction in 1998.

For a number of years, Orr coached a team of top Canadian Hockey League players against a similar team coached by Don Cherry in the CHL Top Prospects Game. Cherry, briefly his former coach in Boston, considers Orr the greatest hockey player who ever lived, noting that Orr was a complete all-around player who could skate, score, fight, and defend.[19]

On February 12, 2010, Orr was one of the eight bearers of the Olympic flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Player agent

Subsequent to his playing career, Orr served briefly as an assistant coach for Chicago, and as a consultant to the NHL and the Hartford Whalers, spending the bulk of his retirement years as a Boston-area bank executive.

He then became an agent representing hockey players in 1996, purchasing the agency founded by Bob Woolf. Orr Hockey Group is a Boston-based player-agent group majority-owned by Orr and incorporated in February 2002. The group represents such players as Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Marc Staal, Rick DiPietro, Nathan Horton, Jeff Carter, Steve Downie, Anthony Stewart, Tomáš Kaberle, and Colton Orr (no relation).

Spezza, asked to comment on the experience of having Orr as an agent, replied: "I don't think I have a true feeling for how great he is. I have so much respect for him. I watch him on tapes and it's just ridiculous how good he was compared to the guys he was playing against. He's a great guy and you don't even know it's Bobby Orr, the way he talks to you."[20]

Career achievements and facts

Orr's star on Canada's Walk of Fame


  • Most points in one NHL season by a defenceman (139; 1970–71).
  • Most assists in one NHL season by a defenceman (102; 1970–71).
  • Highest plus/minus in one NHL season (+124; 1970–71).
  • Tied for most assists in one NHL game by a defenceman (6; tied with Babe Pratt, Pat Stapleton, Ron Stackhouse, Paul Coffey and Gary Suter).
  • Held record for most assists in one NHL season from 1971 to 1981 (102; broken by Wayne Gretzky and also bettered by Mario Lemieux), this is still a record for a defenceman.
  • Held record for most goals in one NHL season by a defenceman from 1971 to 1986 (37 in 1971, broke own record in 1975 with 46; broken in 1986 by Paul Coffey with 48).

Career statistics

  • Career highs in each statistical category are marked in boldface.
Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- PP SH GW GP G A Pts PIM
1962–63 Oshawa Generals Metro Jr.A 34 6 15 21 45
1963–64 Oshawa Generals OHA 56 29 43 72 142 6 0 7 7 21
1964–65 Oshawa Generals OHA 56 34 59 93 112 6 0 6 6 10
1965–66 Oshawa Generals OHA 47 38 56 94 92 17 9 19 28 14
1966–67 Boston Bruins NHL 61 13 28 41 102 n/a 3 1 0
1967–68 Boston Bruins NHL 46 11 20 31 63 +30 3 0 1 4 0 2 2 2
1968–69 Boston Bruins NHL 67 21 43 64 133 +65 4 0 2 10 1 7 8 10
1969–70 Boston Bruins NHL 76 33 87 120 125 +54 11 4 3 14 9 11 20 14
1970–71 Boston Bruins NHL 78 37 102 139 91 +124 5 3 5 7 5 7 12 10
1971–72 Boston Bruins NHL 76 37 80 117 106 +86 11 4 4 15 5 19 24 19
1972–73 Boston Bruins NHL 63 29 72 101 99 +56 7 1 3 5 1 1 2 7
1973–74 Boston Bruins NHL 74 32 90 122 82 +84 11 0 4 16 4 14 18 28
1974–75 Boston Bruins NHL 80 46 89 135 101 +80 16 2 4 3 1 5 6 2
1975–76 Boston Bruins NHL 10 5 13 18 22 +10 3 1 0
1976–77 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 20 4 19 23 25 +6 2 0 0
1978–79 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 6 2 2 4 4 +2 0 0 0
OHA totals 193 107 173 280 391 29 9 32 41 45
NHL totals 657 270 645 915 953 +597 76 16 26 74 26 66 92 92

International play

  • Was named to Canada's 1972 Summit Series team, but did not play due to injuries.
  • Played for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup.

International statistics

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada Summit Series 0 0 0 0 0
1976 Canada Canada Cup 7 2 7 9 8


  1. ^ "NHL legend Orr honoured in hometown". CBC News ( July 18, 2003. 
  2. ^ "The Official Web Site of Bobby Orr-Biography". 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c d Dryden, Steve (1998). The Top 100 NHL Players of All Time. Toronto: Transcontinental Sports Publishers. pp. 26–32. ISBN 0-7710-4175-6. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ a b "Say It Ain't So". May 9, 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  7. ^ Brunt, Stephen. Searching for Bobby Orr. Knopf Canada. ISBN 978-0-676-97651-9. 
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1572432136. 
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ Bock, Hal (1974). Hockey '75: Stars And Records. Pyramid Books. p. 52. 
  12. ^ Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1572432136. 
  13. ^ [5]
  14. ^ "Orr's knees in spotlight - again". Globe and Mail. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  15. ^ Mike Tully (1979-06-13). "Orr voted in hockey Hall of Fame". Beaver Country Times.,3100991&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  16. ^ [6]
  17. ^ "Bobby Orr Hall of Fame website". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  18. ^ [7]
  19. ^ Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1572432136. 
  20. ^ interview

External links

Simple English

Bobby Orr in 2010.

Robert Gordon "Bobby" Orr (born March 20, 1948 in Parry Sound, Ontario) is a retired Canadian ice hockey defenceman.

Bobby Orr's ice hockey skills were evident at a very early age. He was signed by the Boston Bruins at twelve. As a 14-year-old, he played junior hockey against eighteen, nineteen and twenty-year-olds. He signed his first pro contract with the Boston Bruins in 1966.

In his first professional season, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie in the league. Orr only played 46 games in the 1967-68 NHL season because he was injured, but won the Norris Trophy. In the 1969-70 season, he scored 120 points and became the only defenseman in history to win the Art Ross Trophy, for leading the league in scoring. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy. In 1976, Bobby Orr was named the most valuable player in the inaugural Canada Cup Tournament. Orr was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1976. He would only play 26 games over the next three seasons because of problems with his knees.

Orr was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.


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