- the first Stanley Cup Finals game was played at the Civic Arena; the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Minnesota North Stars (it was a 5-4 loss to the Stars)
- Penguins rookie Michel Briere was involved an automobile accident that would leave him in a coma for nearly a year before he died on April 13, 1971
The Penguins selected Briere in the third round of the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft (26th overall). He helped lead Pittsburgh through the second round / semifinals of the playoffs in the 1969-70 season and came just two wins short of the Stanley Cup Final (losing to the St. Louis Blues).
Briere and his childhood sweetheart, Michele Beaudoin, had a son, Martin, who was one year old during Briere’s rookie season. In the off-season, Briere returned to Quebec with plans to marry Beaudoin on June 6, 1970; however, on May 15, 1970, Briere and two of his friends were involved in a car accident on Highway 117. He suffered major head trauma and was flown by government plane to Notre Dame Hospital in Montreal. Briere was in a coma for 11 months before dying in April 1971.
During the season that Briere spent in a coma (1970-71), the Penguins prepared a jersey with his name on the back and they took it along with his equipment bag with them on road trips for the entire season.
Briere wore #21 and no one has since worn that number, but it was officially retired by the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 5, 2001 (his and Mario Lemieux’s numbers were the only ones in team history to be retired).
TODAY’S PENGUINS TRIVIA QUESTION:
Which Pittsburgh Penguins player holds the team record for most penalty minutes in one season?
Find out tomorrow!
ANSWER (to yesterday’s TRIVIA QUESTION – CLICK HERE to view it):
Do you have a trivia question that could be featured on this page or am I missing a major Penguins historical fact for one of the “On This Date” posts?? BE SURE to leave a comment below OR email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!!
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.