Retrospective: Hill Makes History With Record-Smashing NHL Debut
By Bill Melzer
Note: This article is a revised and updated version of a story that originally ran on Flyers.NHL.com on Feb. 18, 2008.
Al Hill was a versatile depth forward for the Philadelphia Flyers. Primarily a checking forward, he could play wing or center and could be plugged into any line without looking out of place. He was reliable in his own of the ice, took the body willingly, dropped the gloves when necessary and could chip in the occasional clutch goal.
The lanky Nanaimo, British Columbia native was a respectable, but far from dominating goal scorer in junior hockey and the American Hockey League. He spent portions of seven seasons with the Flyers from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, including three uninterrupted campaigns with the big club.
In Hill’s 221-game NHL career, he had a modest 40 goals and 95 points. But for one magical night, he was the best player in the NHL. The game, played on February 14, 1977 against the St. Louis Blues, also happened to be the player’s NHL debut.