On today’s date in 1957, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard became the first National Hockey League (NHL) player to score 500 career goals.
Assisted by his Montréal Canadiens teammates Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore, Richard’s 500th goal was netted against Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Glenn Hall in the first period of what would culminate in a 3-1 Canadiens victory.
It was Richard’s 863rd career regular-season game.
FIRST TO SCORE 50 IN A SEASON
A native of Montréal, Richard played for the Canadiens for 18 seasons, during which time he also became the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season.
Also a 13-time NHL All-Star, Richard was noted as an aggressive player, someone who teams would often instigate in an attempt to provoke a suspendable penalty.
In late 1954, he was fined $250 for slapping a linesman in the face, and the following March, he knocked an opponent unconscious.
Following the latter incident, which occurred in Boston, local police tried to arrest Richard after the game but were dissuaded by a promise the NHL would take action.
After a hearing on March 16, Richard was suspended for the balance of the season.
At the next game in Montréal, fans ended up vandalizing and looting stores and overturning cars. The ensuing riot continued until 3 a.m. and left 12 police officers and 25 members of the public with injuries.
In 1960, Richard retired after helping the Canadiens win five consecutive Stanley Cups. At that time, he was the league’s all-time goal scorer with 544 tallies.
2005 RICHARD COIN
In 2005, Richard was commemorated on a 50-cent coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint as part of a four-coin series honouring famous Canadiens.
Richard’s teammates Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur and Jaques Plante were also featured in the set, of which 25,000 were struck on sterling silver blanks.