In what will be my final edition of Flashback Friday, I’ll cover who I’ve longed to cover since taking over from our now-returned Ashley March: Derian Hatcher.
It was 1990. The longest-running animated series, The Simpsons, aired on television for the first time. East and West Germany reunited. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit, sending back to Earth the first glimpses of how vast the universe really is.
And on June 16 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Derian Hatcher stood upon the NHL Draft stage, raised a Minnesota North Stars sweater and took his place among a team of talented hockey players like Neal Broten and Mike Modano. Out of 251 individuals selected in the draft, Minnesota grabbed Hatcher in the first round, making him the eighth selection behind former-Dallas Stars Jaromir Jagr, who was picked fifth, and Darryl Sydor picked seventh.
Just one year later, on October 21, 1991, Hatcher both skated in his first NHL game and scored his first professional goal.
Hatcher moved with the North Stars to Dallas in 1993, and spent the next 10 years of his professional career in Dallas Stars gear. He scored 71 goals, recorded 223 assists, and, perhaps most impressively, spent a total 1,380 minutes in the penalty box. His looming 6’5″ 235-pound stature made him an ideal defenseman, and a difficult individual to push aside in front of the net.
Two years later, he would be named the team’s captain, and in 1999, became the first American-born captain to win the Stanley Cup.
That year he would also receive what was, at the time, the longest suspension in league history for an earth-shattering, or rather teeth-shattering, hit on then-Phoenix Coyote Jeremy Roenick. If you haven’t seen the hit, and don’t have a sensitive stomach, check it out here.
He remained the team captain until 2003, when he left Dallas for the Detroit Red Wings. His relationship with the organization would prove to be immensely short-lived though, when the entire 2003-2004 NHL season was cancelled because of a lockout.
In 2005, he joined the Philadelphia Flyers and was named interim captain just one year later.
In 2008, Hatcher suffered a knee injury and missed much of the season. That summer, he underwent knee replacement surgery and just two weeks later, announced the obvious: he would not be returning to the NHL as a player. And dang, what a scar.
On October 21, 2010, Derian and his older brother Kevin, who also played for the Stars, were inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Today, Hatcher remains a member of the Flyers organization as a player development coach.