Robert Gordon Orr, OC (born March 20, 1948) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. Orr played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for ten seasons with the Boston Bruins, joining the Chicago Black Hawks for two more. Orr is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest hockey players of all time. As a defenceman, Orr used his ice skating speed and scoring and play-making abilities to revolutionize the position. As of 2013, Orr remains the only defenceman to have won the league scoring title with two Art Ross Trophies and holds the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenceman. Orr won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenceman and three consecutive Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player (MVP). Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 at age 31. He was the youngest to be inducted into the Hall at that time. After his hockey career Bobby Orr became a well known scout for many professional teams. He also spends most of his time talking to and mentoring young exuberant skaters.
Orr started in organized hockey at age five. He first played as a forward, but was later moved to defence by his coach, Royce Tennant. Going against the standard practice of the time, Tennant felt that Orr's offensive skills were best suited for a rushing defenceman role and he gave Orr the freedom to play that role despite its inherent risks. With Orr on defence, the Parry Sound Shamrocks had many successes. After Tennant, Bucko MacDonald coached Orr, and Orr continued to excel against small town Ontario provincial competition on defence. At fourteen, Orr joined the Oshawa Generals, the Bruins' junior hockey affiliate, and he was an all-star for three of his four seasons. In 1966, Orr joined Boston, a team that had not won a Stanley Cup since 1941 and had not qualified for the playoffs since 1959. With Orr, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1970 and 1972, and lost in the 1974 Final. In both victories, Orr scored the clinching goal and was named the playoff MVP. In the final achievement of his career, he was the MVP of the 1976 Canada Cup international hockey tournament. In 1976, Orr left Boston as a free agent to join the Black Hawks, but repeated injuries had effectively destroyed his left knee, and he retired in 1978 at age 30.
Orr's first professional contract was one of the first in professional ice hockey to be negotiated by an agent. It made him the highest-paid player in NHL history as a rookie. His second contract was the first million-dollar contract in the NHL. However, after his retirement, Orr learned that he was deeply in debt and he had to sell off most of what he owned. Orr broke with his agent Alan Eagleson and sued the Black Hawks to settle his contract. Orr and his family returned to Boston where Orr went into business to rebuild his finances. Orr aided the investigations that led to Eagleson's fraud convictions and disbarment. Orr also supported the law suit that exposed the corruption of the NHL's pension plan.
Orr entered the player agent business in 1996 and today is president of the Orr Hockey Group agency. As of 2009, the agency represents over 30 active NHL players. Orr is also active in charitable works and in television commercials. Since 1996, Orr has coached a team of junior hockey players in the annual CHL Top Prospects Game. Orr was married in 1972. He is the father of two sons and is a grandfather.
By Dean Hanley
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