Born in Oakville, Ontario, Hadfield played all of his minor hockey in Oakville before moving on to Junior A, and eventually the American Hockey League.
But he's best known as a legendary NHL player on the New York Rangers. Vic Hadfield was the first member of the New York Rangers to score 50 goals in a single season, a feat he accomplished in 1971/1972. With 262 goals as a Ranger, he is the highest-scoring left-wing in team history and the only left-winger in team history to score 100 points in one season.
The New York Rangers
In June of 1961, the New York Rangers drafted Hadfield from the Chicago Blackhawks and Hadfield embarked on a career that eventually made him one of the most popular players in Ranger's history.
The Rangers of the early 1960s were one of the smallest teams in the NHL, and they clearly needed some players of Hadfield's size and combative style. Hadfield quickly delivered, and even led the NHL in penalty minutes with 151 in the 1963/1964 season, his first full NHL campaign.
The G-A-G Lineup
In 1968, Emile Francis, the Ranger's General Manager and three times the team's coach, placed Hadfield on a line with Jean Ratelle at centre and Rod Gilbert on right-wing. The threesome produced an instant chemistry and went on to become to most famous line in Rangers history ... the G-A-G (Goal-A-Game) Line. For a time in the 1970s, they were known as the T-A-G Line since they were scoring at a Two-Goals-A-Game clip.
In 1971/1972, Hadfield had the best season of his career. Francis named Hadfield team captain at the beginning of the season, succeeding Bob Nevin who had been traded to Minnesota for Bobby Rousseau. Rattelle, Hadfield and Gilbert finished one-two-three in team scoring, with Vic notching 50 goals and 56 assists for 106 points.
The 50-goal campaign was the first ever by a Ranger player, and only the 6th player in NHL history at the time to accomplish that fete. Playing despite several injured thumbs, Hadfield reached the magic 50 number by scoring twice in the season's final game against the Montreal Canadians at Madison Square Gardens.
The G-A-G Line was the talk of the NHL that season and the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in more than 20 years before bowing to Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and the Boston Bruins in 6 games. Gilbert made the first All-Star Team that season, with Hadfield and Ratelle making the second team behind Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito, respectively.
Throughout his Ranger career, Hadfield was known not only for his scoring ability, but for his dressing room leadership, an acute sense of humor at all times and for his overwhelming tendency of sticking up for his teammates. "He was the glue that kept the Rangers together, a great captain and a great team man," said Francis. "He never complained, always stressed the positive and always played through injuries."
Traded to Pittsburgh following the 1973/1974 season, Hadfield played 2-plus seasons for the Penguins and retired in 1976 with 1,002 games played, 322 goals scored, 389 assists and 1,154 points.