Today in Boston Bruins History: August 15

By Emma Harger

Boston Bruins history for August 15:

1949: Ivan Boldirev is born in Zrenjanin, Yugoslavia. Though he was born in the former Yugoslavia, he and his family emigrated to Canada when he was just two years old. Though he was shy as a kid, which stemmed from his initial lack of English abilities, he got into hockey as a child and played junior for the Oshawa Generals. Then in 1969, he was Boston’s first selection, 11th overall, in the draft. He spent all of 1969-70 in the minors, though he was called up for the playoffs as a spare body but didn’t see any playoff action as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. However, his name is engraved on the Cup, making him the only forward to have his name etched in the Cup before he ever played a single NHL game. He didn’t get much play time with Boston, though, simply because the team was so deep. Instead, he really got his big break after he was traded to the California Golden Seals and then with the Chicago Black Hawks. He also played for Atlanta, Vancouver and Detroit, notching just over 1,000 games before retiring. Now he does some work for the Blackhawks alumni.

1958: Craig MacTavish is born in London, Ontario. Like Boldirev, he was also a Bruins draft pick, though he was picked 153rd overall in 1978. He went back and forth between Boston and the minors for a few years, making the Bruins roster for good in 1982-83. He had two seasons of more than 30 points before running into a huge problem with the law–driving while drunk, he struck and killed a young woman, and he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. Sentenced, he spent a year in prison, watching games, and upon his release the Bruins offered to release him from his contract. So he did. But the team helped him out again–as a personal favor among friends, Edmonton’s general manager took MacTavish on and he ended up spending eight seasons there, winning three Stanley Cups. He was team captain for two years and, upon his 1994 trade to New York, he added another Cup ring to his collection. He also played in Philadelphia and St. Louis and was the last player to play without a helmet. Having begun his career without a helmet, he was grandfathered into the rule that forced all other players to wear headgear. Following his retirement as a player, he went behind the bench, first with the Rangers and then the Oilers, where he led the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006 for the first time since he was sitting on the bench in 1990. He was let go from the coaching position in 2009, spent time commentating on hockey for TSN, coached the Chicago Wolves for a time and is now back in Edmonton’s front office as senior vice president of hockey operations.

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