In preparation for the World Cup of Hockey coming up we featured some of the firsts for the birthplace of hockey, Canada, last week. As promised, this week we bring you some of the firsts for Team U.S.A. Hockey!
We don't have much longer to wait everyone, hockey is almost BACK!
First American Goalie in the Hall of Fame:
Frank "Mr. Zero" Brimsek was the first American Goalie to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1966). His 252 wins American record held up for 44 years until Tom Barrasso finally surpassed him.
First Olympic Gold for Team USA:
We all remember the "Miracle On Ice", but although dedicated fans realize that the USA won their first Gold Medal 20 years before the Miracle on Ice, it doesn't receive nearly as much coverage. Although the Soviets and Canadians were favored in Squaw Valley, it was the Americans who took Gold in 1960 much to everyone's surprise.
First American #1 Draft Pick:
It took 20 years for an American to be selected first in the NHL draft, but in 1983, Brian Lawton became that first pick. The New Jersey native was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars, but also played for teams such as the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and more recently the San Jose Sharks ('91-'93). Although he had a decent NHL career, scoring 266 points in 483 games, fellow '83 draftees such as Steve Yzerman, Pat LaFontaine and Tom Barrasso overshadowed the number one pick, leading some to even call Lawton one of the "biggest draft busts in NHL history".
First American Stanley Cup Winning Team:
Believe it or not, back before 1920, the Pacific Northwest was the region for Stanley Cup Champs. Two years after the Vancouver Millionaires won the cup in 1915, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. Bernie Morris scored the winning goal of the series in which the Mets took out the Montreal Canadiens three games to one. The Mets would return to the Stanley Cup Final in 1919 and once again face the Habs, but after being tied through five games (game four was a 0-0 tie and ended after one scoreless overtime as per rules), the sixth game was cancelled due to the influenza outbreak and no Stanley Cup was awarded.
First American Player to Score 500 Goals:
Joe Mullen became the first American player to score 500 goals in the NHL, as well as score 1,000 career points. The New York born player grew up in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan and became an all-star in college while playing with the Boston College Eagles. In 2000, Mullen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.