What Was Going On in Rockland When the NHL Single-Season Win Record Was Last Broken?
The Boston Bruins have made history over the weekend by breaking the single-season wins record previously held by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning. This marks the first time since April 12th, 1996, that a team has broken this record, when the Red Wings surpassed the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens' record of 60, at home.
The team's record-breaking win against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 9th, 2023, marked their 63rd win of the season. The Bruins' historic achievement has been met with justifiable excitement and pride throughout New England, and while many folks who bleed black and gold are celebrating this monumental achievement, I wanted to reflect on what was going on in Maine during that same time, 27 years ago.
On April 16th, 1996, four days after the Red Wings broke the single-season wins record, a landslide occurred in Rockland, Maine, which resulted in the destruction of two homes and caused over $750,000 in damages.
While no lives were lost, the event left a lasting impact on the community. The landslide was triggered by a falling tide and heavy rains that destabilized a steep bluff along the north shore of Rockland Harbor. The landslide occurred in a series of discrete events, with smaller blocks continuing to fall for a month following the initial slide.
The City of Rockland hired a private geotechnical engineering firm, R.G. Gerber-Jacques Whitford, Inc. of Freeport, ME, to undertake a stabilization project to protect the road and minimize further enlargement of the landslide area. While the stabilization project was successful, the Rockland Landslide remains fresh in the memory of Mainers as a reminder of the power of nature and the dangers of coastal living.
The events of April 1996 in Detroit and Rockland serve as a reminder of the highs and lows of life. While the Rockland landslide was a devastating natural disaster, the community was able to prosperously rebuild. Additionally, the Detroit Red Wings' record-breaking season was a source of joy and inspiration for sports fans, however, they ultimately lost when it counted: the playoffs. These apparently unconnected occurrences emphasize that life is unpredictable and full of surprises, but also highlight the importance of unity and solidarity during both happy and challenging times
This year's Bruins team, led by star players Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, has demonstrated an all-time level of consistency and resilience throughout the season, earning them a spot in the record books. Fans across New England and beyond will certainly be cheering them on to ultimately do what the Red Wings couldn’t do, win the Stanley Cup.
Below is a clip from the game in which the Detroit Red Wings broke the single-season wins record.