Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Lionel Hitchman played 12 seasons in the NHL for both the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins.
He was born on this date in 1901 and signed with the Senators after playing two seasons of senior hockey for the Ottawa New Edinburghs.
After playing in just three regular season games and five playoff games, Hitchman found himself competing for the Stanley Cup in just his ninth game as a professional. In that game, Hitchman scored the tying goal in the third period before the Senators won in overtime. During the second game, which Ottawa won by a score of 1-0 to capture the Stanley Cup, Hitchman played with a broken nose.
Hitchman, a defenseman, played another season and a half for the Senators prior to being sold to the Boston Bruins midway through their inaugural season of 1924-25.
Over the next eight seasons with the Bruins, Hitchman was a steady and reliable performer who rarely missed a game. By 1927 Hitchman was named the first captain of the Boston Bruins, as they played their first three seasons without one.
The first Bruins captain - Lionel Hitchman
Paired on defense with the legendary Eddie Shore, the pair were a force in the early NHL after Shore's arrival in 1926, a season in which the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time.
They would return to the finals again in 1929, this time defeating the New York Rangers 2-0 in Boston and 2-1 in New York to win the first championship in club history.
The Bruins would return to the finals again the following season, but come up short against the Montreal Canadiens.
Midway through the 1933-34 season, Hitchman would leave the Bruins and play for the Boston Cubs of the Canadian-American Hockey League for the latter half of the season to close out his playing days prior to becoming the head coach of the Cubs.
His final NHL totals were 27 goals and 33 assists for 60 points and a then NHL career record 523 penalty minutes in 414 games.
Hitchman holds the distinction of being the first player in NHL history to have his number retired when the Bruins honored his #3 at the conclusion of his playing days on February 22, 1934.
Today's featured jersey is a 1928-29 Boston Bruins Lionel Hitchman jersey. The Bruins wore a different style in each of their first two seasons before adopting this style in 1926. They would continue to wear this sweater for six seasons, including a Stanley Cup championship in 1929.
Our video selection today is a look at the history of the Boston Bruins, including some great old footage and photos.