In 1964 the Boston Bruins boldly gambled when signing a fresh freckle-faced 14 year-old from Parry Sound, Ontario.
The Bruins’ pick is my #5 choice in my new FREE sports comic book Boston Sports Icons.
Undersized at just 5’6” and weighing in at only 135 lbs., Bobby Orr lived with his parents during his first season with the Bruins’ Junior A hockey team, the Oshawa Generals.
Despite his small size, Orr’s incredible speed and amazing skill at such a young age failed to disappoint. The phenomenal prospect not only grew taller, gained strength and developed a keen awareness for the game. He also demonstrated a superb hockey ability that prompted the Boston Bruins to promote him just four years later. As an 18 year-old, he had matured into an immensely talented 6’ tall and 200 lb. defense man.
Bobby Orr quickly flourished in Boston, becoming a fan favorite and earning the respect of both teammates and Bruins competitors. Whenever he took the ice, #4 distinguished himself with an enviable all-around game. In addition to making hard checks and blocking slap shots, he showed his strength and toughness by moving opponents away from the net and even fighting when needed.
Injury Shortened Bobby Orr’s Stellar Career
Although his career was shortened due to nagging knee injuries, Bobby Orr’s name is immediately mentioned when fans discuss all-time NHL greats like Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.
Throughout his 12 year career, Orr displayed excellence on the ice. A speedy defense man with exceptional puck skills, Orr collected a closet full of NHL hardware during his days as a Boston Bruin.
Bobby Orr earned just about every regular season NHL award a player could receive: the Colder Trophy as the 1968 Rookie-of-the-Year; two-time Ross Trophy winner for total points in a season; three-time Hart Trophy recipient for MVP and eight Norris Trophy selections as the league’s best defense man.
Orr rightfully belongs in any conversation involving NHL’s all-time best players. His career highlights came in 1970 and again in 1972. In both years, he led the Bruins to Stanley Cup Championships and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Finals MVP.
Bobby Orr’s Career Highlight
Perhaps Orr’s most memorable career highlight is his overtime goal during Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals. An iconic picture of an air born Orr with his stick raised in front of the St. Louis Blues’ goal after scoring the series winning goal is widely regarded as one of the top photos in sports history.
The Bruins rewarded their star by signing him in 1971 to the most lucrative hockey contract ever. Orr inked the first $1 million deal in hockey history by agreeing to play for five years at $200K per season.
Unfortunately, Orr’s hard charging style of play caught up with him. His fabulous career eventually succumbed to knee injuries and this incredible defense man retired in 1978.
The Hockey Hall of Fame wasted no time in recognizing this amazing athlete. It enshrined him into their illustrious family a year later.
A once small and undersized prospect, Bobby Orr became a force on the ice and a huge star for the Boston Bruins.
It’s no surprise that #4 easily skates into the #5 spot in my book Boston Sports Icons.
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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!