After 13 seasons and 6 Stanley Cup championships in Montreal, Backstrom went to GM Sam Pollock and requested a trade in 1970. The Habs sent Backstrom to Los Angeles, one of his requested destinations, in exchange for Gord Labossiere and Ray Fortin.
“It was very refreshing for me to play in Los Angeles. It was one of the most enjoyable times in my hockey career. The environment, the lifestyle everything seemed to be new and different,” says Backstrom.
It was in California that Backstrom first began experimenting with the first inline skates.
“A friend of mine, Maury Silver, had a concept back in 1971 when I was playing for the Kings,” recalled Backstrom. “His idea was to put wheels on the bottom of my skate boot instead of the blade. I remember taking my blade off and trying out the wheels. As a matter of fact I would train during the off-season with the so called super street skate.”
Backstrom and Silver’s “Super Street Skate” was the forerunner to the inline skate. While neither were involved in the evolution to the inline skate, Backstrom would later go onto be a big part of the success of Roller Hockey, serving as the commissioner of Roller Hockey International.