On This Day January 12th.

No PhotoDave Ritchie scored the very first goal in NHL history. Shown here as a Montreal Canadien.
January 12:  On this day in 1892, *Dave Ritchie was born in Montreal Quebec. Ritchie was in the lineup on NHL opening night in 1917, playing for the Montreal Wanderers against the Toronto Arenas. He is credited with scoring the first ever goal in NHL history. The Wanderers beat Toronto that evening 10-9. It was to be their only victory in NHL play. Dave Ritchie went on to become the first player to play for each of the five original franchises in the NHL, including 4 games with Toronto. In all from 1918 to 1921, Ritchie put in short stints with the Toronto Arenas, Quebec Bulldogs (then of the NHL), and Montreal Canadiens. He then retired as a player for three seasons to work as a referee. It wasn't until 1924 that he rejoined the Habs for a handful of games spread over the two seasons that followed. He then retired from hockey in 1925-26.

Ritchie's Career:
  • Signed as a free agent by Quebec (NHA), December 1, 1914.
  • Claimed by Mtl. Wanderers from Quebec in Dispersal Draft, November 26, 1917.
  • Claimed by Ottawa from Mtl. Wanderers in Dispersal Draft, January 4, 1918.
  • Signed as a free agent by Toronto, January 17, 1919. Transferred to Quebec by Toronto when Quebec franchise returned to NHL, November 25, 1919.
  • Transferred to Hamilton after Quebec franchise relocated, November 2, 1920.
  • Traded to Montreal by Hamilton with Harry Mummery and Jack McDonald for Goldie Prodgers, Joe Matte, Jack Coughlin and loan of Billy Coutu for 1920-21 season, November 27, 1920.
  • Signed as a free agent by Montreal, January 28, 1925.
  • Signed as a free agent by Montreal, January 13, 1926.
*There is some argument, but it is widely accepted that Montreal Wanderer Dave Ritchie scored the first goal in NHL history, purportedly one minute into one of the first two NHL games held on 19 December 1917. It actually comes down to a matter of time-keeping that has caused confusion: there is no remaining record of when exactly each of the games played that night actually started, and so there is doubt about which of the first two Montreal goals scored is actually the first one. There is no doubt that it was a Montreal player, but whether a Canadien or a Wanderer is under dispute; both teams scored first in the debut NHL games against the Ottawa Senators (v Wanderers) and the Toronto Arenas (v Canadiens).

Joe MaloneJoe Malone
There are arguments that Joe Malone scored the first one, scoring six-and-a-half minutes into the first period in his game against the Arenas, possibly notching the first goal in NHL history depending on what time things got started that night. Malone would score at least one goal in each of his first 14 NHL games, and is still a legend in hockey, but this theory is unproven. Either he scored the first NHL goal, or the second NHL goal and the first in Canadiens NHL history...impressive either way.

Ritchie is generally the one who gets the credit, as it is assumed his earler goal (one minute into the game rather than six) makes sense as the first tally. In fact, he only played four games for the Wanderers, and after the Montreal Arena burned down in 1918 (only six games into the first NHL season) moved over to Ottawa, against whom he scored that historic goal. Ritchie, a defenseman, only scored 15 goals in his 94 game NHL career, though he had a remarkable 1916-17 season, the last year of the NHA before it became the NHL...he posted 17 goals and 27 points in just 19 games as a Quebec Bulldog that year.

Tim Horton
January 12:  On this day in 1930, legendary Leaf defenseman Tim Horton was born in Cochrane, Ontario. In his long NHL career spent mostly with the Leafs between 1950 and 1970, Horton anchored the blueline and helped the Leafs win four Stanley Cups between 1962 and 1967. He was named an NHL first team All-Star 3 times and a second team All-star 3 times as well. Horton is one of only five players that played over 1,000 games (1,185) in a Leaf uniform. He holds the Leafs' team ironman record having played in 486 consecutive games, including 6 complete seasons between 1961 and 1968. In 1962, Horton finished 2nd in playoff scoring with 16 points in 12 games. He was tragically killed at the age of 44 in a single-car accident on February 21st. 1974. At the time of his death, the chain of doughnut shops under his name which he and a partner established in 1964 had over 30 outlets in operation. Horton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. His sweater number 7 was officially honored by the Maple Leafs in 1995.

Tim Horton interview:

Nikolai BorschevskyNikolai Borschevsky
January 12:  On this day in 1965, Nikolai Borschevsky was born in Tomsk, U.S.S.R. Borschevsky racked up 34 goals and added 40 assists as a Leaf in his first season in the NHL in 1992-93. Because of his age however (27), he was not considered a rookie and his 74 points are not the official Leaf team record for a rookie season. "Nick the Stick" only lasted 142 games with the Leafs as his slight physical frame could not withstand the rigors of the NHL. The highlight of Borschevsky's NHL career came on May 1, 1993 when his overtime goal in Game 7 of the opening round playoff series against Detroit boosted the Leafs into the next round.

John AndersonJohn Anderson
January 12:  On this day in 1983, John Anderson scores his first career hat-trick in a 6 to 4 loss to the Boston Bruins. Anderson was drafted in the 1st round, 11th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft. He played 814 career NHL games, scoring 282 goals and 349 assists for 631 points from 1977–78 until 1988–89. His best statistical season was the 1982–83 season, when he set career highs with 49 assists and 80 points.

Curtis Joseph
Curtis Joseph
January 12:  On this day in 2010, Goalie Curtis Joseph retires after 19 NHL seasons. Joseph finishes with 454 career victories, behind only Martin Brodeur (585), Patrick Roy (551) and Ed Belfour (484) on the all-time list. Although he only spent five seasons in a Toronto uniform, he is the franchise's fourth leading goaltender in victories with 138 and tied for seventh in shutouts with 17. Joseph said Toronto marked the high point of his career. His 2.49 goals against average as a Leaf is Toronto's seventh-best all-time.

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