Hockey is a beloved sport that’s been around for over a century, and it has seen some of the greatest athletes to ever grace the ice. From the legendary Wayne Gretzky to the powerhouse Bobby Orr, there have been many outstanding hockey players throughout the years who have left a lasting impression on the game. In this blog, we’ll be looking at ten of the greatest hockey players of all time and discussing why they earned a spot on this list.
10- Maurice Richard
Photo Credit: NHL
Maurice Richard was one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He played the right wing position for the Montreal Canadiens from 1942 to 1960. He was the first player to score 50 goals in a single season, and he did it in only 50 games. Richard also won eight Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, including five consecutive championships from 1956 to 1960. He was a nine-time NHL All-Star, and he was named the league’s most valuable player in 1947. He also led the league in goals scored four times, and his number 9 jersey was retired by the Canadiens in 1960.
Nicknamed “Rocket Richard’, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, and in 1998 he was named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players” in league history. Richard was known for his aggressiveness and physical play, making him one of the most feared players of his time. He was also a gifted goal scorer and highly skilled at stick handling. His overall impact on the game of hockey was immense, and he remains an inspiration to hockey players around the world.
9- Sidney Crosby
Photo Credit: Sportsnet
Sidney Crosby is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He has won two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, and two World Cup championships. He has also been named to the NHL All-Star Team eleven times. Crosby has scored over 1,200 points in his career, including 484 goals and 718 assists. He has won the Maurice Richard Trophy for leading the league in goal-scoring twice. Crosby is the only player to win the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player three times.
He is also a three-time Ted Lindsay Award winner for being the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the players. Crosby holds the record for most points in a single postseason, with 31 in 2009. He has also led the NHL in playoff points three times. Crosby is the only player to win the Pearson Award for the NHL’s best player as voted by the NHLPA four times. He is one of the most decorated players in NHL history.
8- Wayne Gretzky
Photo Credit: Sports Net
Legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky is considered one of the greatest of all time. In his 20-year career, he scored 894 goals and assisted on 1,963. He collected 2,857 points, more than any other player in history. Gretzky’s career began with the Indianapolis Racers in 1978, where he played for eight games. He was then traded to the Edmonton Oilers and played for them for nine seasons, leading the team to four Stanley Cup championships. After that, Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, where he helped the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993.
He ended his career after playing for the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers. Gretzky’s career was highlighted by numerous awards, including nine Hart Memorial Trophies, ten Art Ross Trophies, and five Lester B. Pearson Awards. He was also named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player an impressive eight times. Gretzky’s impact on the game of hockey is still felt today, as he continues to inspire players of all ages.
7- Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr is widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He revolutionized the game with his innovative skating and scoring ability. He played in the NHL for 12 seasons, primarily with the Boston Bruins. During that time, Orr scored an incredible 270 goals and 645 assists for a grand total of 915 points. His plus/minus rating of plus-582 ranks third all-time, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
Orr won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer three times, the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player eight times and the Norris Trophy as its top defenseman a record eight times. He also won the Stanley Cup twice with the Bruins. Orr was the first NHL player to score 100 points and 200 points in a season and the first defenseman to score 30 goals in a season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. Bobby Orr remains an iconic figure in hockey and a true legend of the game.
6- Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He has a career total of 690 goals and 1,033 assists in just 915 games. Lemieux won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 1991 and 1992. He was also a three-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. Lemieux was the first player in NHL history to record more than 200 points in a single season, achieving this feat in 1988-89. He also set a record for most points in a single period, with six goals and four assists in one game against the New Jersey Devils.
Lemieux was a skilled passer, setting a career-high in the 1988-89 season with 85 assists. He was also an exceptional shooter, attempting more than 500 shots in a season three times. In 1989-90, Lemieux led the league with 85 goals, the most ever scored in a single season since Wayne Gretzky’s 92 goals in 1981-82. Lemieux was an outstanding leader and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. His number, 66, was retired by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1997 and he is considered by many to be one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
5- Mark Messier
Photo Credit: WSJ
Mark Messier is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He won six Stanley Cups, two with Edmonton and four with the New York Rangers. He was a two-time Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player. Mark also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. He was the first player to record 100 points in a season six times. He scored 1,887 points in 1,756 games, averaging over a point per game. Mark was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
Messier was a physical player who was willing to sacrifice himself to win. He was a strong leader who captained two teams to Stanley Cup championships. He was the first player to record 1,000 points and 1,000 penalty minutes in a career. Mark scored 50 or more goals five times and was selected to 14 All-Star games. He was also a four time Lester B. Pearson award winner and was selected to the NHL’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s. Messier is widely considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
4- Pavel Bure
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Pavel Bure was one of the most dominant and talented players in the history of the National Hockey League. He was known for his incredibly fast skating, deadly accurate shot, and ability to score goals in bunches. His career spanned 12 seasons, during which he registered 437 goals and 342 assists. In 1999-2000, Bure set a career high with 58 goals, leading the league in that category. He also posted back-to-back 50-goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94. He was twice named an NHL All-Star, and won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2000-01. Bure was also an important member of the Russian National Team, helping them win a gold medal in the 1998 Olympics. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. Pavel Bure’s place among hockey’s greatest players is indisputable.
3- Steve Yzerman
Photo Credit: WXYZ
Steve Yzerman is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He played 22 seasons in the NHL, all with the Detroit Red Wings. Yzerman scored 692 goals, 1,063 assists, and 1,755 points, ranking him sixth in all-time NHL scoring. He won an impressive 10 Stanley Cups, three as a player and seven as a general manager. Yzerman was a 13-time All-Star, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 1998 playoffs.
He was also the recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Selke Trophy. Yzerman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He was named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players in 2017. Yzerman was known for his leadership, unselfishness, and strong defensive play. He was a tenacious worker and a great role model for young players. His passion for hockey and team spirit made him a fan-favorite. Yzerman’s legacy will live on for generations to come.
2- Bobby Hull
Photo Credit: KVIA
Bobby Hull was one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He was a prolific scorer, recording 610 goals and 560 assists in 1,063 NHL games. He was the first player to score more than 50 goals in a season, and he did it twice. Hull was also a dominant force on the powerplay, scoring an impressive 265 powerplay goals. He was a six-time All-Star and a two-time Hart Trophy winner. Hull was a physical presence on the ice, recording 1,616 penalty minutes in his career.
He was also a great leader, captaining the Blackhawks from 1970-1971. Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983 and his number nine jersey was retired by the Blackhawks in 1983. He was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy. Hull was the first player to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks won in 1961. His legacy lives on as one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
1- Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He played in the NHL for an astonishing 32 seasons. He scored 801 goals in his career, the sixth most of all time. Gordie also tallied 1049 assists, the seventh most ever. Howe was the only player to record 100 points in a season after turning 40. He had a total of six 100-point seasons. He was a 23-time NHL All-Star. Howe won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.
He won the Art Ross Trophy six times, the Hart Memorial Trophy six times, and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy five times. Howe recorded 2857 penalty minutes, the fourth most of all time. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. The Detroit Red Wings retired his number nine. Howe’s nickname “Mr. Hockey” is a testament to his greatness. His legacy will live on forever in the annals of hockey history.