Bobby Orr’s Debut At The Boston Garden October 10, 1966
This photograph shows Bobby Orr wearing number 27, (left) at his first practice at the Boston Garden on Monday, October 10, 1966. Next to Orr is the youngest coach in the NHL, 34-year-old Harry Sinden and defenseman Gilles Marotte.
The Bruins had practiced for a month at their training facility in London, Ontario and came to Boston on October 9, 1966 to prepare for the coming season with some exhibition games. Since the 1959-60 season the Bruins had posted seven consecutive losing seasons. The Bruins anticipated savior, 18-year-old rookie phenom Bobby Orr, would eventually set the team on a course that would lead them to two Stanley Cup championships. But not in Orr’s first season with the Bruins- they would continue their losing record at 17-43-10 and not qualify for the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.
Orr’s teammate, Gilles Marotte was involved in one of the biggest swaps in NHL history when he was traded on May 15, 1967 with Pit Martin and Jack Norris from the Bruins to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. Esposito being the key player in the trade, would help establish with Orr, the nucleus of the Bruins winning teams of the late 1960’s and early 70’s and lead the Bruins to success.
Orr immediately altered the way the game was played in his rookie season by using his tremendous skills as a defenseman to lead offensive drives, something that was simply unheard of up until Orr’s arrival in the NHL.
Orr was nursing a sore shoulder at the time this photo was taken and did not play in the Bruins exhibition game against the New York Rangers on October 11 at the Boston Garden which the Rangers won 3-1.
Orr would make his NHL debut on October 19, 1966 against the Detroit Red Wings and get an assist in a 6-2 Bruins victory.