1966 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
1 6
Steve Atkinson
Selected by Boston from Niagara Falls (OHA)
Boston Bruins Niagara Falls Flyers
Steve Atkinson

5-foot-11, 170 pounds

Right-hand shot

Right Wing,

Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1964-65Niagara Falls OHA 15 1 0 1 --
1965-66Niagara Falls OHA 39 8 7 15 12

Pre-Draft Notes

Won Memorial Cup with Niagara Falls in 1965 ... Missed part of 1965-66 season due to an appendectomy.
Canadian • Born Oct. 16, 1948 in Toronto • Hometown: Barrie, Ontario • Died May 6, 2003

Career Vitals

First contract: 1968
Debut: March 27, 1969
(Boston vs. New York)
Final NHL game: February 26, 1975
(Washington at Pittsburgh)
Retired: 1978
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: n/a (Boston); 19 (Buffalo);
21 (Washington)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Boston, Buffalo, Washington
Years: 1969-1975. Playoffs: 1973

Regular Season
6 years 302 60 51 111 104
Stanley Cup Playoffs
1 year 1 0 0 0 0
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Won Memorial Cup with Niagara Falls in 1968. ... Played on Oklahoma City team that won CHL regular-season title in 1968-69. ... Won CHL Ken McKenzie Trophy (Rookie of Year) with Oklahoma City in 1968-69. ... Named to CHL All-Star First Team with Oklahoma City in 1968-69. ... Played on first Buffalo Sabres team in 1970-71 although he did not arrive until November. ... Played on first Washington Capitals team in 1974-75. ... Became first player in Washington Capitals history to score on a penalty shot when he beat Ken Lockett in Feb. 1, 1975, game at Vancouver. ... Served as captain of the Buffalo Norsemen (NAHL) in 1975-76. ... Won Allan Cup with Brantford Alexanders in 1977.

Transaction History

Feb. 16, 1966 -- Traded by Detroit to Boston as part of complex deal in which Boston traded Leo Boivin and Dean Prentice to Detroit for Gary Doak, Bill Lesuk and future considerations (the Atkinson draft pick). June 1970 -- Playing rights sold by Boston to Hershey (AHL). June 9, 1970 -- Claimed by St. Louis from Hershey (AHL) in Inter-league Draft. Nov. 1, 1970 -- Claimed by Buffalo off waivers from St. Louis. June 12, 1974 -- Claimed by Washington from Buffalo in NHL Expansion Draft (team's eighth pick). September 1975 -- Signed with Buffalo (NAHL) as unrestricted free agent. January 1976 -- WHA rights sold by Houston to Toronto.

Atkinson's Place in History

Atkinson can fairly be referred to as the player taken with the first-ever traded NHL draft pick. During the 1965-66 season, the Boston Bruins were looking forward to drafting both Barry Gibbs and Atkinson, the top players on their affiliated junior teams in Estevan and Niagara Falls. However, Boston could only select one player. To avoid losing one, the Bruins made a Feb. 16 deal calling on Detroit to waive its first pick to Boston at the 1966 amateur draft to complete the earlier trade in which Boston sent Leo Boivin and Dean Prentice to Detroit for Gary Doak, Ron Murphy, Bill Lesuk and future considerations.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Steven John Atkinson
Nicknames: "Atch" and "The Snail"

Other Post-Draft Teams: Niagara Falls (OHA); Oklahoma City (CHL); Richmond (AHL); Toronto (WHA); Buffalo (NAHL); Brantford (OHA Sr.); Erie (NAHL).


Selected by Dayton Aeros in 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972. Played 52 WHA games for his hometown Toronto Toros in 1975-76. Died of a heart attack at the age of 54 at his home in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Inducted into Barrie (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007.
Total Selected: 24
Forwards: 14
Defense: 8
Goaltenders: 2
Major Junior: 17
College Players: 0
Canadian: 24
American: 0
Euro-Canadian: 0
European: 0
Reached NHL: 14
Won Stanley Cup: 3
Hall of Fame: 1
All-Star Game: 3
Year-end All-Star: 1
Olympians: 0
Picks Traded: 1

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