The Amazing Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1979
The 1979 Hockey Hall of Fame class of inductees included three players and one builder. The three players were definitely worthy of the honour, with one having the normal three year waiting period after retirement waived.
Bobby Orr is arguably the best defenseman and one of the best all-around players to play the game. Orr played in the NHL from 1966-67 until the 1978-79 season with the Boston Bruins and Chicago Black Hawks. His career was cut short by devastating knee injuries. Even so, his accomplishments were phenomenal.
Starting with the Calder Trophy in 1966-67 as the league’s top rookie, Orr went on to win eight Norris Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, three Hart Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies and even a Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete. He is the only defenseman to this date win the Art Ross as the league’s top point-getter. He is the only person to win the Norris, Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smythe in the same season. His eight Norris Trophies are the most by any player in history, although Niklas Lidstrom is knocking at the door with seven.
Bobby was the first NHL player to record 100 assists in a season. The 102 assists in 1970-71 still stand as an NHL record for defensemen. He is one of just four major league players to record 100+ assists in a season along with Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Andre Lacroix (WHA). Orr’s 139 points in 1970-71 remain as a fairly untouchable record for points in a single season by a defenseman.
Henri Richard is perhaps best known as the player in National Hockey League history to be a member of the most Stanley Cup winning teams. Over his career with the Montreal Canadiens that spanned from 1955-56 to 1974-75, Richard was a part of eleven Stanley Cup championship celebrations. His first five years in the league, the only five that he played alongside brother Maurice, the Habs won the Cup.
Henri is the all-time leader for most games played for the Canadiens with 1256. Although he never won a major individual award, Richard led the league in assists on two occasions. His number 16 was retired by the Canadiens shortly after his retirement in 1975.
Harry Howell, like Richard, is the leader in games played for a specific NHL team. Howell played 1160 games in a New York Rangers uniform. Harry played in the NHL from 1952-53 until the end of the 1972-73 season with the Rangers, California Golden Seals and Los Angeles Kings. He went on to played three years in the WHA before retiring from the game. Howell won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 1966-67. His number 3 is retired by the Rangers.