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Mario Lemeiux earns a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame

Sports History 101
Colton Hordichuk
Contributor

This week, we’re proud to include two of the most influential athletes of all time.

The professional sports world said goodbye to Smokin’ Joe Frazier on Nov. 7, 2011, and it’s with respect that we look back on one of his heavyweight title moments. Also, Nov. 17, 1991, will forever be an unforgettable day for a National Football League offensive lineman. 

Both of these athletes have made a noticeable difference not only in their athletic life, but the lives of others outside of the ring and field, making this week’s history lesson an appropriate tribute.

Nov. 17, 1997 – Lemeiux is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. After the 1997 season, Pittsburgh Penguins’ centre Mario Lemeiux retires with 1494 points in 745 games. Lemeiux is the only player to retire from the NHL with more than a 2-point per game average.

Nov. 18, 1970 – Joe Frazier is successful in his first title defence against Bob Foster in two rounds to obtain the light-heavyweight boxing title. This would serve as just the beginning for Frazier; he went on to defend the title 26 times. In total, Frasier added 32 wins to his record – 27 by knock out, while losing four times, and coming to a draw once. Frazier also won the gold medal for the United States in the 1964 Olympic Games.

Nov. 19, 1906 – London, England is selected to host the 1908 Summer Olympics. Great Britain finished first with 56 gold medals – 146 total. Britain had more gold medals than second-place, United States (47).

Nov. 20, 1997 – Dallas Mavericks’ A.C. Green sets an NBA record for playing 907 consecutive games. While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Green’s streak began on Nov. 19, 1986, against the San Antonio Spurs, and ended April 18, 2001, against the Orlando Magic when he was a player for the Miami Heat.

Nov. 21, 2008 – The University of Regina Cougars shut out their rivals, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, 1-0 in women’s hockey. Goaltender Lisa Urban makes 30 saves to keep the Huskies scoreless, while the women’s team also went perfect on the penalty kill, causing the Huskies go 0-for-11 on the powerplay.

Nov. 22, 1987 – The New England Patriots defeat the Indianapolis Colts 24-0. The Colts were shutout two times during the 1987 season and finished with a 9-6 record. With the 2011 season half over, the Colts have not yet been shutout – for now – although they’re 0-9. 

Nov. 23, 1975 and  1980 – Surprisingly, the Edmonton Eskimos win the Grey Cup on the same day, five years apart. The Eskimos won the 63rd Grey Cup in 1975 by defeating the Montreal Aloutettes 9-8 and in 1980 they defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 48-10. 

Honourable Mention

Nov. 17, 1991 – It’s more than an honour to mention former Detroit Lions offensive lineman Mike Utley. This day marked the end of Utley’s career, which ended much sooner than he wanted.

During a game against the Los Angeles Rams, Utley sustained an injury to his sixth- and seventh-cervical vertebrae, paralyzing him from the waist down. When Utley was being taken off the field, he gave the crowd and players a thumbs-up to symbolize that he was going to be alright. Utley’s thumbs-up gesture then became the logo for the Mike Utley Foundation, which was formed in 1991 to help find a cure for paralysis.

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