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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Honoring Hockey Great Vic Hadfield

 (originally posted on KCSportsNinja on July 30, 2014)

Mainly remembered for his career with the New York Rangers, more hockey fans should know more about hockey great Vic Hadfield. Hadfield spent 13 seasons with the Rangers and led them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1972. That year Hadfield scored 50 goals (and added 56 assists for a total of 106 points), and is only one of three players to score 50 or more goals in a season for the New York Rangers (Adam Graves, Jaromir Jagr).

Being one of only three players to do that while playing for the Rangers is quite an accomplishment, considering other hockey greats like Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. While Gretzky was near the end of his career, in the two of the three seasons he was with the Rangers, he totaled 90 or more points. Mark Messier however was still in his prime when he played for New York during his first stint with the team, and led them to a Stanley Cup Title in 1994 (The team’s first in 54 years). In first six seasons with the Rangers, Messier recorded 518 points, but unlike Hadfield, he did not reach the 50 goal mark 
during his stint with New York. The closest Messier came was in the 1995-96 season with 47 goals.

One other reason that got me interested in doing a piece on Hadfield was the fact he had played for the Pittsburgh Penguins (my favorite team)! Hadfield scored 73 and 65 points respectively in his first two seasons with the Pens. An interesting note about Hadfield is that early on in his career he struggled offensively, but in the 1967-68 season he reached the 20 goal mark for the first time and would never fail to reach the mark again. But Hadfield had some history of being plagued by injuries, and in his third season with the Penguins during the 1975-76 season he suffered a serious knee injury that forced him into retirement.

I think hockey fans in general need to acknowledge Hadfield a bit more, (and I hope my fellow Penguin fans feel the same way). finishing with 712 career points (323 Goals, 389 Assists) it would be a shame not to recognize and honor Hadfield’s accomplishments.

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