The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Bobby Orr



Photograph of the 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal

Photograph of the 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal

May 10, 1970
Fred Keenan/Hockey Hall of Fame

Flying High

For the countless fans that already believe he can leap over tall buildings in a single bound, it is a magical moment! Forty seconds into sudden-death overtime, Bobby Orr launches into an impressive airborne trajectory with a little showmanship and some help from a defender’s stick – but not before he manages to connect with a perfect Derek Sanderson pass and flip it behind St. Louis goalie Glenn Hall, to give the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup victory in 29 years.

He is only 22 years old and completing just his fourth season in the NHL and yet he has already redefined the game of hockey - complete with a brand new job description for any defenseman interested in applying. The overtime clincher that completes a four game sweep of the Blues is a classic example. With the Bruins deep in the St. Louis zone, Orr blocks a clearing pass and feeds the puck to Sanderson in a classic give-and-go, charging in deep to the net and around a defender just in time to pick it back up from Sanderson to dump it in. How many defensemen would dare to play this aggressively, moving into the opponent’s goalmouth in full flight, leaving a whole wing wide open – in sudden-death of a Stanley Cup final no less? This is vintage Bobby Orr. His offensive skills are genius and he’s fast enough that if he gets caught he recovers defensively. He has written the book on the end-to-end rush becoming hockey’s first offensive blueliner.

Bobby Orr’s “flying goal” capped off a year that a 1999 Hockey News expert panel declares to be the most important regular season performance in NHL history because of how he changed the game and the role of defensemen. His brilliant 1969-1970 season was a showcase when he became the first and only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring, with 33 goals and 87 assists for 120 points outscoring runner-up and teammate Phil Esposito by 21 points.

Here’s what Sports Illustrated had to say when they named Bobby Orr – 1970 Sportsman of the Year, arguably the most prestigious global sports award…

To students of Bobby Orr, the spectacular has become routine, and the routine has become unacceptable. One of a defenseman's primary jobs is to get the puck out of his own end and down the ice, and some players carry out this task with all the grace and ease of a starving man eating a pomegranate through a screen door. Orr does it routinely. Olsen, Jack. (1970, December 21). Sportsman of the Year Bobby Orr. Sports Illustrated, p. 39.

“Let it be said and done with: by acclamation Bobby Orr is the greatest player ever to don skates. Not the greatest defenseman, the greatest player at either end of the ice.” Olsen, Jack. (1970, December 21). Sportsman of the Year Bobby Orr. Sports Illustrated, p. 36.

Orr’s Big Goal is a Test of Time Adobe PDF Transcript


Set goals record for defencemen
Won Norris Trophy
Led NHL in assists and points, won Art Ross, Conn Smythe, James Norris,
Six straight 100-point seasons
Lou Marsh Memorial Award
Stanley Cup - Boston Bruins
Canada Cup MVP