"When I was growing up, I hated Montreal. Always." So spoke Acton, the centre playing between Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur his first three full seasons in the NHL (1980-83) for the Montreal Canadiens. He started on a line with Mario Tremblay and Yvon Lambert, but his feistiness, skill on the faceoff, and consistency got him promoted to the number one line in no time.
But early the following season, he was traded to Minnesota, one of the weaker teams in the league at the time, and Acton felt betrayed. One of the best faceoff men in the game, it was his competitiveness during the 1981 playoffs, a loss to the up-and-coming Edmonton Oilers, that eventually got him a Stanley Cup ring with Wayne Gretzky's team a few years later.
Sure enough, midway through the '87-'88 season, Sather was able to acquire him from the North Stars, and that spring the team won its fourth Cup in five years. The Oilers traded him to Philadelphia midway through the following season, and that summer Acton was involved in one of the strangest deals in league history. The Flyers sent him to Winnipeg, and then five days later the Jets sent him back to Philadelphia. In all, he played more than 1,000 NHL games and represented Canada three times at the World Championships. After retiring, he became an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2000-01.