This Day In Sports History (June 21st) — 1997 NHL Draft
It was on this day in 1997 that the NHL entry draft was held at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Boston Bruins had the #1 overall pick, as they finished the prior season with a league-worst 61 points.
With the first overall pick, the Bruins selected center Joe Thornton, who played his junior hockey with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. In his two seasons in the OHL, Thornton tallied 71 goals and 127 assists for 198 points in 125 games played. Along with his great numbers, Thornton was named the OHL’s rookie of the year, and in his sophomore year he finished second only to Marc Savard in points.
Despite his great junior career, Joe Thornton struggled in his first year as a pro and was not even the best rookie on his own team. The Bruins also held the eighth overall pick that year, and they selected Sergei Samsonov, who went on to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie.
Here is a look at the Bruins using their first overall pick to select Joe Thornton.
Tom Chambers, NBA – Born June 21st 1959 (age 54) in Ogden, Utah
Derrick Coleman, NBA – Born June 21st 1967 (age 46) in Mobile, Alabama
Richard Jefferson, NBA – Born June 21st 1980 (age 33) in Los Angeles, California