January 15, 1968 – “Shortly after completing a pass to teammate Wayne Connelly, [Minnesota North Star Bill Masterson] was checked by Oakland's Larry Cahan and Ron Harris and fell backwards onto the ice head-first. The force of the back of his head hitting the ice caused blood to gush from his mouth and nose. Masterton sustained a massive brain hemorrhage that damaged the pons. The injury was so severe that doctors were unable to perform surgery, and Masterton died [on this date]. Masterton was not wearing a helmet.
His death would result in more intense lobbying to make it mandatory for hockey players to wear helmets, which were uncommon in North American professional hockey at the time. Helmets were made a mandatory piece of equipment for incoming professional players before the start of the 1979–80 season, though older players were not required to wear them.
Masterton's #19 jersey has never been worn again by any player in the North Stars/Stars franchise, and it was officially retired in 1987, six years before the North Stars left Minnesota.”
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