NHL History

October 4: This Day in NHL History

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October 4 NHL History

1926: The Detroit Cougars, one of three new teams set to begin play the following month, purchase the Victoria Cougars from the defunct Western Hockey League for $100,000. Players from Victoria make up nearly half of the first-year Detroit team.

1991: The San Jose Sharks make their NHL debut in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. Forward Craig Coxe, a native of Chula Vista, California, scores the first goal in Sharks history. The Sharks go 17-58-5 in their inaugural season.

On the same night, Jari Kurri scores three goals in his first game with the Los Angeles Kings, who defeat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 at Winnipeg Arena. The hat trick is the 21st of Kurri’s NHL career.

1991: The future of two teams is altered dramatically when the Edmonton Oilers trade their captain, Mark Messier, to the New York Rangers.

After playing on all five of the Oilers’ Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1984-90 (one more than the Rangers’ total since entering the NHL in 1926), Messier holds out and is traded to New York for forwards Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk.

Messier’s effect on the Rangers is immediate: They win the Presidents’ Trophy as the League’s best regular-season team in 1991-92 and again in 1993-94, then end a 54-year championship drought by winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, with Messier scoring the Cup-winning goal.

The Oilers don’t make the Stanley Cup Final again until 2006, then fail to qualify for the playoffs again until 2017.

1999: The Sharks have the first “double hat trick” in their history. Owen Nolan and Jeff Friesen each score three goals in a 7-1 win against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

2001: Brendan Shanahan scores three goals in the Detroit Red Wings‘ 4-3 overtime win at San Jose to become the second player in NHL history to have an opening-night hat trick twice in his career.

On the same night, the Boston Bruins retire Ray Bourque’s No. 77 before their season opener, then defeat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4-2.

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