Bobby Orr’s First Time

This week I have for you what I am told is an incredibly rare and significant Bobby Orr item. I don’t want to waste time so let’s get right to it shall we.


As you can see, this is a program for a pre-season game between the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs on September 23, 1966. So why is this significant? Because it’s the first pre-season game of the year and the first game that Bobby Orr ever played for the Bruins.

Here’s a little back story on this program. In the past I’ve mentioned that get quite a few of my Orr items from Sportworld in Saugus. I got a call recently from the owner Phil Castinetti telling me that he just got in an Orr piece that was incredibly rare. Of course I immediately drove over to check it out. He showed me the program and told me what it was and how rare it was. As if I needed any more convincing to buy it, former Bruin Dave Shaw was in the store and he actually played in the arena that the game took place in, which was known as The Gardens and was home to the London Nationals. The Nationals were a junior team that played in the Ontario Hockey Association. The arena held 5,075 people. One has to wonder just how many of these programs survived.

Here’s what the inside looks like.



As I was looking at the inside I noticed a few odd things.

First, there are facsimile autographs of the entire Bruins training camp roster except for Orr. Secondly, Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers name is spelled with a J instead of a G. Last and most puzzling was that Orr is listed as #4.

Now I know some of you are asking why that is so strange considering that he wore #4 his entire Bruins career. Not so. In the pre-season of his rookie year he wore #27. That number is assigned in the program to someone named Paul Popil.

The year before, Albert Langlois wore the number. He might have even had it in training camp, but he obviously didn’t make the team.

In searching for an answer, I got lucky. As some of you may know, I went to game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals (8-1 Bruins and an amazing game to be at). At the end of the first period, I happened to run into another Orr collector that I met recently at Sportsworld. This guy is a COLLECTOR. He has a number of Orr game used jerseys including his rookie one. We started talking about the program (which he also has and said that he has never seen another) and I asked him about the number. He thought that Orr might have been just randomly assigned the number for the game because Langlois didn’t play and the jersey was available. Also, it might have been possible that Orr never wore the number in the game and that the program had it wrong. Unless someone was there that night and remembers, we may never know.

On another note, Orr only played in about four preseason games because he was injured during the camp. He might not be listed at all in other programs.

All in all, I would have to think this is a pretty rare piece of Bobby Orr memorabilia, which I feel lucky to own.

Thanks again for reading this week. As I write this the Bruins are down 3 games to 2. I’m hoping they have two more wins in them. Either way, it’s been a great series.

12 Responses to “Bobby Orr’s First Time”

  1. The Goog says:

    Wow, very cool and prophetic. Did anyone know at the time if Orr was going to be given #4 then or was it just coincidence?

  2. Gary says:

    I think it was just a coicidence. There are pictures of him wearing #27 in training camp.

  3. scifinds says:

    I never realized that you would have to be such a sleuth to be a collector of Bobby Orr memorabilia.

  4. Gary says:

    Sometimes you have to be. Alot of times information on an item is just not available.

  5. skip says:

    i have a few items that i may part with, a pair of rally bobby orr gloves , decent condition. a pair of bobby orr shin guards, good cond., and a pair of derek sanderson elbow pads

  6. Scott says:

    Hi Gary -

    Great site. I’m a long time collector of historic NHL programs & tickets, and was a huge Bobby Orr fan as a kid (still am); have programs/tix for most of his key early games.

    I have this program in nice shape – it was indeed his first NHL appearance, and he drew an assist setting up Pit Martin for the Bruins’ only goal in a 1-1 tie with the Leafs.

    I’d be curious as to what Phil at Sportsworld valued it at – I bought my copy on Ebay for next to nothing years ago, don’t think anyone else realized it’s significance.

    The lack of an Orr facsimile autograph inside I attribute to the way things were done back then – all of the signatures used were likely carryovers from the previous year, while Bobby was a raw rookie with presumably no autograph yet on record.

    As for the number, I found that fascinating too. Albert Langois did indeed wear #4 that training camp and through pre-season, until he was cut. I have the program from the Bruin’s pre-season game at home vs. Montreal on October 16th, three days before the season opener, and Langois is listed with #4, Orr with #27. My guess is that Orr was intended to get #4 from the start, and wore it in the September 23rd game when Langois didn’t dress.

    And Paul (Poul) Popiel was an NHL journeyman who got into 3 games with the Bruins the prior season, but got demoted, I believe, early in the 66-67 camp. I saw him play for the Canucks in their first two NHL seasons (he was the 1st Danish born player in the NHL).

    Keep up the good work…….Scott in Vancouver.

  7. Gary says:

    Hey Scott,
    Thanks for the comment and the information about the game and other players! I would love to see your collection of program and tickets. Sounds pretty amazing! Hope you keep checking back and commenting in the future

  8. keefe says:

    Hi my names keefe from taunton mass. I also have the opeche bobby orr stamp and ray cullen it’s a fine item in any collectors treasures. R u the collecters corner in taunton if so i sold u a lot of stuff cheap and would like to perhaps buy somes items back. You can call my cell at (508)386-5375, Thank you sincerely keefe fitzgerald taunton mass.

  9. Gary says:

    Hey Keefe, thanks for reading. I am not the collectors corner and am not a dealer. I’m just a collector showing off the items I have. The Orr/Cullen stamp is something I’ve been looking for to add to my collection. I’m glad you held onto it. Good luck and getting some of your stuff back.

  10. i have his first game program played at boston garden oct. 19, 1966 he played against detroit got his first assist i am going to sell if you know someone interested.

  11. Gary says:

    Mike, I sent you an email about the program. If you are interested get back to me.

  12. Mike Drake says:

    I actually have a program from the year before when the London Nationals played the Oshawa Generals Dec 14, 1965 with Bobby Orr wearing #2 for the Generals. I happen to have a few of these old programs in mint condition.

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