Jeremy Roenick is a true NHL legend. The Hall of Fame skated in over 1300 games and scored 1216 points. During his career, he was in seven All-Star Games, and although he played for Phoenix, Philadelphia, LA, and San Jose, he’s most remembered for his years in the Chicago Blackhawks, for whom he played from 1988 to 1996.
In 2007, Roenick became the third American-born player in the NHL to score 500 goals. But the story of how he scored his first goal is wild.
Roenick scored his first NHL goal without a name on his jersey, and he says he’s the only one to do it.
”It was my fifth game. I was playing in Hull Olympiques in Quebec, playing for juniors. My now wife, then girlfriend, was actually visiting me because it was right before Valentine’s Day, and I got the call from Bob Pulford: ’You’re going up to play in Minnesota.’ So excited, but he said I had two hours to get to the plane,” he said on NBC.
”I ran home, got my bag, ran to the rink, got my hockey bag, and I was just flying to the airport.”
So far, so good, right? Well, then came trouble.
”Ran a stop sign, T Bone another car, that car ran across the road into a house. She’s yelling at me at French. I was like, ’I’m gonna miss my flight to my next NHL game, I’m finally back in the NHL.’ The cops come and say, ’Go, JR. You just get to the airport. We’ll take care of things here.”
”I fly to the airport, make the plane, goes to Toronto, where I have to switch planes. There’s a snowstorm In Toronto. I have to stay over at the airport hotel. I got on the plane the next day. It’s delayed. I miss morning practice, and I haven’t skated, by the way, in a month and a half because I hurt my knee. Now I’m going into my fifth NHL game, and this happens.”
When he eventually got to his name, and in the locker room, he saw his name missing from his jersey.
”Nr. 27, they don’t even have my name on the back of my shirt. Brian Noonan put it in front, I tapped it by Kari Takko, and you see, I don’t have my name on the back. I’m the only player in the NHL that scored his first goal without a name on his back. They weren’t prepared for me to be called up, and I almost didn’t make it because of a lot of different situations that happened in the course of me getting there.”