Our countdown to the 2016-17 season continues, with 15 days to go...
We’ve used jersey numbers for a lot of these countdown entries, but #15 might be my personal favorite. The first two guys to wear #15 for LA were traded for each other, inclding Juha Widing, the third Finnish-born player in NHL history. Daryl Evans wore it when he scored the game-winning goal in the Miracle on Manchester after three other guys (including Bernie Nicholls) wore it during the year. Chris Kontos wore it when he scored nine goals in eleven games during the 1988-89 playoffs. Jozef Stumpel wore it, and I love Jozef Stumpel. You get the idea.
You’ll know, of course, that Andy Andreoff is currently the most recent player to wear #15 for LA. Who was the first? Well, that’s where this gets really interesting.
Ted Irvine wore the number in LA’s inaugural season. You might know him as the guy standing behind captain Bob Wall in this photo.
Gladiators standing outside the Forum. pic.twitter.com/ImUY2IzakT— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) September 14, 2015
Irvine was a role player for the Kings for three seasons, before heading over to New York to become a Rangers fan favorite. He also did a lot more punching in the Big Apple, fighting Bobby Orr and a host of others. So he was something of a brawler, though he paled in comparison to his son: professional wrestler Chris Jericho.
So that’s his claim to general fame. His claim to Kings fame? He scored the first playoff overtime goal in franchise history, on April 2, 1969 against the Oakland Seals. It also took him just 19 seconds to do so. Unsurprisingly, it’s still the fastest overtime goal in Kings playoff history, though Butch Goring got one in only 27 seconds seven years later. Irvine had five goals in the playoffs that season, leading the Kings to a first-round series victory, their first ever.
Irvine was traded for LA’s second #15, Juha Widing, and went on to a long and distinguished career. How long a career? 15 years.