72 candles for Habs pioneer Backstrom

Ralph Backstrom on his 1958-59 Parkhurst hockey card.

Happy 72nd birthday today to Ralph Backstrom, one of the finest “invisible” centremen in Canadiens history.

Backstrom won six Stanley Cups on teams led down centre by one Jean BĂ©liveau.

Little-known fact about Backstrom, the pride of Kirkland Lake, Ont.: he helped pioneer a version of the world’s first inline skates. Think about that next time you’re headed toward the ditch on your Rollerblades.

Read that story here, by Joe Pelletier, and enjoy the video below.

Nice Denver Post yarn here from 2007 when Ralph retired from hockey, most recently having served as president and GM of the minor-pro Colorado Eagles.

And here’s a look back at his career, upon his induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

Many happy returns of the day, Ralph!

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