A Milestone Day in Bruins History: September 3rd, 1966

Published September 3, 2023 at 3:56 PM
BY AUSTIN SABOURIN
Today, we remember a pivotal event in hockey history. On September 3rd, 1966, Bobby Orr etched his name into the annals of the sport by signing his very first NHL contract. This two-year deal came with a substantial price tag of $70,000, a figure that stood as the league's highest salary at that time. To sweeten the arrangement, Orr also secured a noteworthy $25,000 signing bonus, adding an extra layer of excitement to the agreement.

What truly distinguishes this day is the intriguing negotiation that unfolded. Initially offered $20,000 – comprising $7,000 for the first year, $8,000 for the subsequent season, and a $5,000 signing bonus – Orr and his lawyer, Alan Eagleson, introduced an unexpected twist. Eagleson raised the stakes by proposing that Orr would consider representing Canada's national team instead of Boston unless his compensation reached a minimum of $100,000.

During that era, entry-level contracts faced no salary cap restrictions, and rookie incomes typically hovered around the $10,000 mark. In those circumstances, players often had limited recourse but to accept the terms dictated by the league. The negotiations that unfolded here played a transformative role, giving rise to the concept of player agents and standardized salary discussions. Eagleson's journey eventually led him to assume the role of the NHLPA's executive director, a role that would later become entangled in legal matters.

This historic day resonates as a testament to Orr's profound impact on the game, both on the ice and within the broader landscape of hockey's evolution.


Source bruinsinsider
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A Milestone Day in Bruins History: September 3rd, 1966

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