This Day In Sports History (February 20th) — Billy Smith
It was on this day in 1993 that the New York Islanders retired goaltender Billy Smith’s number 31. In doing so, Smith became one of six former Islanders players to have his number retired by the organization.
Billy Smith was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, but in 1972 he was selected by the New York Islanders during the NHL Expansion Draft. He would go on to spend the following 17 seasons in Long Island, where he would win four Stanley Cups, one Vezina Trophy and one Conn Smythe Award, while also being credited as the first goaltender in history to score a goal. In 1989, Smith decided to call it a career. At the time, he was the last original Islander remaining on the team. He would finish his career with a 305-233-105 record and a 3.17 goals against average.
His #31, along with Denis Potvin’s #5, Clark Gillies’ #9, Bryan Trottier’s #19, Mike Bossy’s #22, Bob Nystrom’s #23, are the only numbers to be retired by the Islanders’ organization.
Here is a look at Billy Smith’s first and only goal of his career.
Phil Esposito, NHL – Born on February 20, 1942 (age 72) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Charles Barkley, NBA – Born on February 20, 1963 (age 51) in Leeds, Alabama
Justin Verlander, MLB – Born on February 20, 1983 (age 31) in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia