NHL fans around the world can talk about the city of Calgary, where Al MacInnis won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy in 1989. They can talk about St. Louis, where MacInnis wrapped up his 23-year NHL career with the third-most points of any defenseman in league history But if they don’t mention Nova Scotia, then they might as well not even talk about his blistering slap shot, flawless leadership, and genuine personality.
Had MacInnis not converted a key penalty shot for the Nova Midgets in the late 1970s, he might not have had the opportunity to play 1,416 NHL games, rack up 1,274 points, win a Stanley Cup, or have his No. 2 retired by the Blues. With the game on the line, MacInnis netted the goal, sending the Nova Midgets to the Air Canada Cup in 1979. That tournament put him on the radar of scouts and earned him an invitation to Regina’s training camp, where he stayed the entire season before being drafted 15th overall by the Flames in 1981.
MacInnis took the opportunity and skated with it. Nicknamed “Chopper” because of his unusual, choppy skating style, MacInnis developed one of the best slap shots the game has ever seen. Former Blues goalie Mike Liut once said of MacInnis’ shot, “There were two kinds of hard… there’s hard and then there’s MacInnis hard. MacInnis now spends his time in St. Louis as the vice-president of hockey operations for the Blues.