1982-1983 NHL Official Record Book
Rick Boulton was a Contributing Editor, TV Guide.
What was the longest hockey game ever played? Which team scored the most goals in one game? Which hockey player took more penalty shots than any other? Who was the only player to play for five NHL teams in one season? The only Toronto Maple Leaf to have his sweater number retired? The most accurate shooter in the National Hockey League, any season?
The NHL Official Record Book knows all. Compiled chiefly by Mike Griffin and Benny Ercolani of the NHL’s publicity department, with an assist from the 21 team publicity directors, this well-researched, pocket-sized reference work is an indispensable aid to hockey fans — “better than the Guinness Book of Records,” according to retired NHL president Clarence Campbell. It’s hockey’s encyclopedia of facts and figures and serves as a one-two punch alongside the NHL’s other highly prized stat book, the NHL Official Guide, slightly more expensive at $14.
Wayne Gretzky may be great for hockey but where would he, hockey, and the fans be without these human computers and burros of information recording, calculating, and computing every shot, goal, assist, save, fight, and injury? After all, scoring titles, championships, trophy awards, salaries, bonuses, entry to the Hockey Hall of Fame are all based on performance — and performance is measured by statistics. This annual has an enormous capacity for detail and the recent innovations such as the plus-minus statistics are excellent. It should also settle most hockey arguments and trivia questions. Example: Who was the only regular goaltender ever to coach in the NHL? Answer: Emile Francis (coaching section, pages 285-87).
Certainly, the NHL Official Record Book owes a debt of gratitude (uncredited) to Ron Andrews, the league’s chief statistician and director of information from 1963 to last year, when he surprisingly quit to pursue a radio career. When Andrews took over the job in 1963 from Ken McKenzie, the founder of Hockey News, he worked feverishly for years updating and putting into statistical shape more than 40 years of dusty, untouched game reports. Today, in his garage, Andrews still has newspapers dating back 50 years, stacked to the rafters.
How important are statistics? When then-Montreal Canadien defenseman Serge Savard ran into a burning hotel room in St. Louis a few years ago to rescue coach Scotty Bowman, he was praised for his courage. “That wasn’t courage,” said Savard. “I had to save Scotty’s notebook where he had my plus and minus figures written down.”
Answers to our opening questions? 1) Montreal Maroons versus Detroit in 1934, 116 minutes and 30 seconds of overtime; 2) Montreal Canadiens beat Quebec Bulldogs 16-3 in 1920; 3) Charlie Conacher; 4) Larry Hillman; 5) Ace Bailey; 6) Montreal’s Murray Wilson in 1972-73 (18 goals on 68 shots for a 26.5 shooting percentage. Among players with at least 15 goals, nobody has had a more accurate shooting percentage in all of hockey since the league started keeping shooting percentages in 1957-58).