Bobby Orr, who
transformed the role of the hockey defensive line, showing that it could
also be an offensive force. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in
Born Robert Gordon Orr in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada, Orr was signed to
an amateur contract by the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League
(NHL) when he was 14. After an outstanding performance in junior league
hockey in Canada, he became a professional for the Bruins in the 1966-67
season, winning the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie.
He won the Norris Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's best defenseman,
and was named a first-team all-star for eight consecutive years (1968-75).
During this period he expanded the role of the defensive line by leading
offensive charges down the ice and captured the league scoring title in
1970 and 1975. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972, and Orr
received the Smythe Trophy both years as the outstanding player in the
One of the many astonishing feats of Bobby's career was his +/- ratio. In
hockey, the +/- ratio is the amount of goals scored for your team while
you were on the ice minus the number of goals scored by the other team
while you were on the ice. If the resulting number is positive, then your
team scored more goals than the other team while you were on the ice.
Bobby ended his career with a +/- ratio of +597. His best season was
1970-71 when he concluded with an NHL record of +124.
Although plagued by knee injuries that required frequent operations, Orr
was still an attraction when he became a free agent after the 1975-76
season. He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, but his injured knee
prevented him from being effective. He retired in 1979.
On January 9, 1979 the Boston Bruins held,
"Bobby Orr Night". When Bobby was finally introduced, the Garden crowd
stood and cheered for eleven minutes and would not let Mr. Orr speak.
Finally the noise subsided and the #4 was raised to the rafters while
Bobby and his family looked on.