A defenseman, Bobby Orr revolutionized the game of hockey, creating a new breed of defenseman with his offensive role. His speed, most notably a rapid acceleration, and his open ice artistry electrified fans as he set almost every conceivable record for a defenseman. Despite being limited by knee injuries which would later force him to retire early, he dominated the National Hockey League during his career. In a shortened career, he still won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league's most outstanding defenseman eight times, more than any other player in NHL history.
He is the only defenseman to ever win the Art Ross Trophy as the league scoring champion, accomplishing this feat twice. As well, he is also the only defenseman to lead the league in assists, and he did it five times. Orr's 139 points in the 1970-1971 season remains a record for NHL defensemen. He won the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player three times, from 1969-1970 through 1971-1972. He captured the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman a record eight consecutive seasons, from 1967 to 1975.
In the late 1970s, Bobby Orr was voted the greatest athlete in Boston history in the Boston Globe newspaper's poll of New Englanders, beating out Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Carl Yastrzemski and Bob Cousy.
Forced to retire after more than a dozen knee operations, the mandatory waiting period was waived and in 1979 he was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame at age 31, the youngest player to be inducted. He has been honored with his name recorded on Canada's Walk of Fame.