CBC Digital Archives

Number Four, Bobby Orr

media clip
There's no limit to what Bobby Orr can do on ice. His teammates and fans of the Boston Bruins know it, opposing players are made aware of it nightly and his coach Harry Sinden understands it completely. In this 1970 CBC-TV clip, Sinden heaps praise on his young superstar's dexterity as well as his shooting and passing ability. But it's Orr's skating prowess that the coach holds in the highest esteem. "I've seen him leave the finest skaters in the league behind even while carrying the puck," Sinden says. Teammate Gerry Cheevers notes Orr's all-round game. "He can show up some nights and play the greatest defensive game that you'll ever want to see and he can combine it with offensive play too," says Cheevers.
• This CBC-TV profile of Orr was shot over a three-month period, from the latter part of the 1969-70 NHL season through the Stanley Cup playoffs.

• Orr scored the biggest goal of his career on May 10, 1970, in game four of the Stanley Cup final series against the St. Louis Blues. It happened at 40 seconds of overtime and clinched the championship for the Bruins four games to none. Upon converting the pass from behind the net by Derek Sanderson, Orr sailed through the air with his arms extended and his teammates piled on top of him on the ice at the Boston Garden.

 • Orr was born March 20, 1948 in Parry Sound, Ont. In July 2003 the city opened the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. The $13-million building boasts a concert hall as well as a museum dedicated to the town's most famous son.
• The Boston Bruins signed Orr in 1960 at age 12 and by 14 he was playing for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey Association against 18- to 20-year- olds.

• Alan Eagleson negotiated Orr's first contract with the Bruins in 1966. At a time when most rookies were earning less than $10,000 a season, Eagleson secured a $75,000 package. According to ESPN, Orr "reportedly signed for $50,000 for two years and a $25,000 bonus, the biggest contract ever received by a rookie at that time." Orr became hockey's first millionaire when he signed a five-year deal at the beginning of the 1971-72 season. The contract guaranteed him $200,000 per season over five years.

• Orr's career statistics are remarkable for a defenceman. He scored 270 goals and added 645 assists for a total of 915 points, in 657 games. He is the only defenceman ever to lead the league in scoring and he did it twice, in 1969-70 and 1974-75. He holds the record for most points in a season for a defenceman (139 in 1970-71), most assists in a season for a defenceman (102 in 1970-71, and highest plus/minus in a season (+124 in 1970-71. Plus/minus refers to the numbers of goals your team scored while you were on the ice versus the numbers of goals scored against your team while you were on the ice.)

 • Orr was named to the NHL First All-Star team in eight consecutive seasons, from 1968 to 1975; he won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman in each of those eight years; he was awarded the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in 1967; he received the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP in 1970, 1971 and 1972; and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1970 and 1972, becoming the first two-time winner of the award. Orr was also the NHL's plus/minus leader six times, the most in history.

• Orr won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year in 1970. That same year he was named Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year."

• Orr's post-career accolades include being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1979) and being named an officer of the Order of Canada (1979). He has been voted the greatest athlete in Boston history in a Boston Globe newspaper poll of New Englanders, beating out Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Carl Yastrzemski, Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, and teammate Phil Esposito. Orr was also voted the 2nd greatest hockey player of all time in 1997 by The Hockey News. He trailed only Wayne Gretzky and was ahead of Gordie Howe. He was also voted the greatest defenceman of all time.

• Orr was forced to retire from hockey at the young age of 30, weakened by repeated knee injuries and six knee operations. After being limited to 10 games for Boston during the 1975-76 season, he was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for the 1976-77 campaign. He played just 20 games for the Hawks that year and took the entire following year off to recuperate. A valiant attempt to return to the game in 1978-79 lasted only six games.
Medium: Television
Program: The Canadian Game
Broadcast Date: Sept. 30, 1970
Guests: Gerry Cheevers, Harry Sinden
Duration: 5:26
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.
Footage: National Hockey League

Last updated: May 15, 2014

Page consulted on May 15, 2014

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