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Friday, February 10, 2017

1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Russ Courtnall Jersey

Announcing his presence, Russ Courtnall showed is offensive skills with 36 goals and 61 assists for 97 points in 60 games for the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League during the 1982-83 season. This caught the attention of the NHL scouts, and he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 7th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.

This led to a busy 1983-84 season for Courtnall, as he played 32 games for the Cougars, scoring nearly a goal per game with 29. His 37 assists gave him 66 points, which gave him a 2 point per game average. At Chirstmas time, he played for Canada at the 1984 World Junior Championships, scoring at the same pace he did in junior hockey with 7 goals and 13 points in 7 games to lead Canada in scoring while placing fourth in the tournament. His back to back hat tricks earned him MVP honors for the Canadians.

Courtnall Cougars
Courtnall played two seasons with the Victoria Cougars
while wearing Cooperalls long pants

He then joined the Canadian National Team for 16 games in preparation for the 1984 Olympics. After scoring 11 points for the National Team, Courtnall, still just 18 years old, scored a goal and 4 points in 7 games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Courtnall, Kirk Muller, Dave Gagner and J. J. Daigneault became the first Canadian players to play in the World Juniors and Olympics in the same year.

Courtnall playing for Canada at the 1984 Olympics

Upon his return to North America, Courtnall joined the Toronto Maple Leafs and made his NHL debut with 14 games, scoring 3 goals and 12 points. Courtnall would go on to play six seasons for the Maple Leafs, highlighted by a 29 goal, 73 point season in 1986-87, which included 6 shorthanded goals, second in the league that season. He had two other 20 goal seasons with Toronto, but the Maple Leafs wanted him to play a tougher brand of hockey, which saw his offensive numbers decline in 1987-88 to 49 points.

Courtnall Maple Leafs
Courtnall played six seasons in Toronto

Just nine games into the 1988-89 season, the fast skating Courtnall was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for tough guy John Kordic and a 6th round draft choice. He became a fan favorite in Montreal due to his speed and stickhandling skills. In the 64 games after the trade, Courtnall scored 22 goals and 39 points before adding another 8 goals and 13 points in 21 playoff games as Montreal made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Over the next two seasons, Courtnall scored 27 goals and 59 points in 1989-90 before scoring 26 goals and setting a new personal best of 76 points in 1990-91.

After a seven year gap, Courtnall returned to the international stage for Canada after Montreal was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, playing in the 1991 World Championships where he scored a goal and 3 assists in two games and winning a silver medal.

Later that fall, Courtnall was named to the roster for Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup, playing in 8 games with 2 assists as Canada would win the tournament.

A torn rotator cuff in training camp in preparation for the 1991-92 season, followed by re-injuring it in an early October game kept him out of action until mid-January 1992. Shortly after returning, he missed another month after being slashed on the hand and limited him to just 27 games that season during which he scored 21 points. His relationship with Montreal soured over accusations about his willingness to play while hurt over the amount of time he missed.

Courtnall Canadiens
Courtnall in the Canadiens 19991-92 Turn Back the Clock
jersey worn during the NHL's 75th Anniversary season

All of that led to the Canadiens trading Courtnall to the Minnesota North Stars in August of 1992 for their final season in Minnesota. The change in scenery worked well for him, as he set a career high with 36 goals and set a new career best with 79 points, finishing second on the team to Mike Modano.

For the 1993-94 season, the North Stars relocated to Dallas and Courtnall moved with the club. While his goal total dropped by a third to 26, his 57 assists saw him set a career best of 80 points, again second on the team to Modano.

Courtnall Stars
Courtnall played for the Stars in both Minnesota and Dallas

Once the delayed 1994-95 season got underway, Courtnall played in 32 games for Dallas before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Greg Adams, Dan Kesa and a 5th round draft choice. His playmaking skills were on display once he arrived in Vancouver, registering 14 assists and 18 points in 13 games.

Courtnall Canucks
Brothers Russ and Geoff Courtnall were teammates in
Vancouver but only for 13 games late in the 1994-95 season

In 1995-96, Courtnall had his ninth 20 goal season with 26 goals on his way to 65 points, his sixth season of 60 or more. In 1996-97, he played 47 games with Vancouver, scoring 28 points before being traded once again, this time to the New York Rangers for the final 14 games of the 1996-97 season.

Courtnall Rangers
Photographic evidence of Courtnall's brief stay in New York

For the 1997-98 season, Courtnall signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent. He was limited by a hip injury to 58 games during his first season with the Kings.

Courtnall Kings 2
Courtnall during his first season in Los Angeles

His 1998-99 season was curtailed by a broken ankle, but he returned in time to play in his 1,000th career game on this date in 1999 against the Phoenix Coyotes, making Russ and his brother Geoff Courtnall the first brother combination to both play in 1,000 career NHL games.

Courtnall Kings 3
New jerseys arrived for Los Angeles for the 1998-99 season
when Courtnall played in his 1,000th NHL game

Courtnall retired after the 1998-99 season with 1,029 games played with 297 goals and 447 assists for 744 points as well as 39 goals and 83 points in 129 playoff games.

Geoff and Russ Courtnall and his mullet were the
first pair of brothers to each play in 1,000 NHL games

Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Russ Courtnall jersey as worn the season Courtnall played in his 1,000th NHL game.

Bringing purple back to their color set, the Kings introduced this new jersey style for the 1998-99 season with the coat of arms cresting on their home white and road black jerseys. They introduced a purple alternate for the 1999-00 season with the secondary crown logo as the alternate's main crest. The white and black jerseys were used for four seasons and the purple alternate for three until all the logos were reversed starting in 2002-03, making the crown now the main logo on the white and black jerseys going forward, while the purple alternate now featured the coat of arms.

Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 F jersey
Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1993-94 Dallas Stars Russ Courtnall jersey as worn during the Stars first season in Texas when Courtnall set a career best with 80 points.

This style was worn by the North Stars for their final two seasons in Minnesota. After the move to Dallas, the Texas shaped secondary logos were added to the jerseys for their first season in Dallas. This exact style was worn for just one season before the green color was made darker, the world "DALLAS" was added above the word "STARS" on the crest, the waist striping became much thicker and the three color sleeve numbers were changed to two colors, white outlined in green, leaving this style with the state of Texas sleeve patches without the world Dallas in the crest as a one season only rarity.

Dallas Stars 1993-94 F jersey
Dallas Stars 1993-94 B jersey

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1996-97 Vancouver Canucks Russ Courtnall jersey. The Canucks changed their home jersey from yellow to white in 1989-90 and wore this style through the 1996-97 season.

Vancouver Canucks 1996-97 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra extra bonus jersey: Today's extra extra bonus jersey is a 1991 Team Canada Russ Courtnall jersey as worn during the 1991. Canada Cup, Courtnall's final international tournament, which was won by Canada.

Canada wore this style for all five editions, from 1976 through 1991.

Canada 1991 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section features a tribute video to Courtnall on teh occasion of his being inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

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