(Photo Credit: Michael Burns Sr./Hockey Hall of Fame)

By: Steve McClure | Follow me on Twitter / X @stmcclure1993

Bruins fans, on this day let’s celebrate one of the most adored Bruins of them all. It is Johnny ‘The Chief’ Bucyk’s 89th birthday!

On June 10, 1957, John Bucyk was traded to the Boston Bruins—along with cash considerations—to the Detroit Red Wings for goaltender Terry Sawchuk. On that day 67 years ago next month, ‘The Chief’ would become a Bruins ‘lifer’. Little did the organization know that the left-winger would develop into a 545 career goal scorer, an NHL Hall-of-Famer, a color analyst for the team’s flagship radio station for fourteen years, and the club’s official ambassador.

Arriving in Boston and teaming up once again with fellow Ukrainian-heritage teammates Vic Stasiuk and Bronco Horvath—who had already played with one another as linemates in the Western Hockey League—Bucyk made an immediate impression on Bruins’ fans. The ‘Uke Line’ would become the lone bright spot on an otherwise cellar-dwelling Bruins team throughout the late 1950s and into the mid-1960s.

Already the recognized team leader, Bucyk appeared to receive a shot in the arm with the arrival of boy-superstar Bobby Orr in 1966, and the second half of his career was even more productive than the first half. By the end of the ‘68 season, Bucyk had reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time—heights he would attain six more times over the next eight years. In 1970-71 he would score a career high 51 goals and win the first of two Lady Byng Memorial Trophies for ‘sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.’

Bucyk’s career numbers for the Bruins are scrapbook-worthy. The hip-checking left-winger scored a Bruins’ record 545 career goals, assisted on 794 others, and registered 1339 career points with Boston. His 1436 games played is second only to Ray Bourque in Bruins’ history. His 88 game-winning goals is also a Bruins’ record. In the playoffs, Bucyk was just as effective, collecting 100 points in only 109 games. His 45 power play points place him at number three all-time for Boston, behind only Ray Bourque and Brad Marchand.

Gordie Howe is the only NHL player to score more goals (40) at age 40 than Bucyk did in 1975-76. Bucyk collected 36 goals that year, the most on the Adams Division-winning Bruins. It wasn’t until 2022 that 36-year-old Alex Ovechkin broke Bucyk’s 1971 record for the oldest player to score 50 goals in a season. Johnny was 35 years old that year.

Johnny Bucyk is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, a seven-time NHL All-Star, and Boston’s all-time leader in goals scored. The former Boston captain was named to the Bruins’ ‘All-Centennial Team’ in the fall of 2023. In 2017 he was voted by the NHL as one of its top 100 players of all-time.