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This Week In Bruins History: Dit Clapper's Number Retired

Bill Cowley and Dit Clapper
Bill Cowley and Dit Clapper

One February 12, 1947 the Boston Bruins honored Aubrey "Dit" Clapper by retiring the only sweater he wore his entire NHL career. Clapper wore the number 5 which he help bring three Stanley Cup Championships to the city of Boston. Clapper was the big name in Boston after Eddie Shore retired and before the Bobby Orr days where he wore the C on his chest and gave it his all during every game.

Dit Clapper played right wing for nine years and defense for his last eleven. He is the only player in NHL history to be named an all star as a forward and a defenceman. Clapper scored 228 goals and 474 assists during his twenty years. The Bruins quickly retired his number during the same year that he decided to hang the skates and his number 5 jersey for the last time. Clapper is one of only ten players to have the waiting period waived to enter the Hall of Fame. He shares that honor with other Bruins greats Bobby Orr and Terry Sawchuk.

Dit Clapper was one of the more level header players during a tough era in the sport. He could take a hit just as much as he could give one. He didn't fight much, but if he had to he would drop them as fast as he could. One of the greatest stories in NHL history involved a rare occasion when Clapper lost his temper. Clapper was involved in an altercation when former Montreal Maroon Dave Trottier hit Clapper in the face with the end of his stick. Clapper became so enraged at ref and future NHL president Clarence Campbell that he took a run at Trottier himself. As Campbell was pulling Clapper off of Trottier he called him "a dirty son of a bitch". Clapper didn't appreciate Campbell's comment so he took a swing at him and knocked him down to the ice. Surprisingly all Clapper received was a $100 fine for his actions.

Dit Clapper was of the true greats of the sport. He didn't put up huge number, but he was a winner and one of the most versatile player of all time. He lasted twenty season in one of the hardest eras to play hockey all with the Bruins. He has earned the respect for a player to never wear the number 5 on Bruins jersey ever again.