Photo by Gerhard Crous, free to use under the Unsplash license.

Grab your jerseys and prepare to be checked into the boards of hockey history! We’ll be revisiting the spectacular careers of the ten greatest athletes to ever grace the rink. From ‘The Great One’ to ‘Mr. Hockey’, from unforgettable goals to historic hat tricks, these players didn’t just master the game—they transformed it.


Photo by Seth Hoffman, free to use under the Unsplash license.

Wayne Gretzky

Nicknamed ‘The Great One,’ Gretzky is widely considered the greatest hockey player ever. He holds numerous NHL records, including most career points and most career goals. Gretzky’s number 99 is the only one retired league-wide by the NHL, showing the magnitude of his impact on the sport.

Gordie Howe

Mr. Hockey, as he’s affectionately known, had an astonishing 26-season career and was a 23-time All-Star. Gordie’s unique combination of scoring ability and toughness led to the term ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick’ – a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game.

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Bobby Orr

Orr revolutionized the role of the defenseman with his scoring prowess. He’s the only defenseman to win the league scoring title, doing so twice. Orr’s iconic flying goal to win the 1970 Stanley Cup remains one of the most enduring images in NHL history.

Mario Lemieux

Overcoming numerous health issues, Lemieux led the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups and won two Conn Smythe Trophies. Remarkably, Lemieux once scored five goals in five different ways in one game: even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot, and empty net.

Maurice Richard

The ‘Rocket’ was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games and was an integral part of the Montreal Canadiens’ success in the 1940s and 50s.

In 1955, Richard’s suspension led to the infamous Richard Riot in Montreal, reflecting his cultural importance in Quebec.

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Jean Beliveau

Beliveau is one of the most respected figures in hockey, winning the Stanley Cup 10 times as a player and 7 more as an executive with the Canadiens. Known for his sportsmanship, Beliveau was awarded the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy in 1965.

Bobby Hull

Known as ‘The Golden Jet,’ Hull was one of the most prolific goal scorers of his era, netting over 600 goals in his illustrious career.

Hull’s slapshot was once clocked at over 118 mph, and his speed and power fundamentally changed the way hockey was played.

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Mark Messier

Messier is second only to Gretzky in points scored. He won six Stanley Cups, including leading the New York Rangers to their first in 54 years.

Known for his leadership, Messier famously guaranteed a victory in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals and then delivered a hat trick.

Doug Harvey

Harvey, a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, was one of the best two-way defensemen in NHL history. Harvey was an exceptional puck-moving defenseman, and he helped pioneer the transition game from defense to offense in the NHL.

Patrick Roy

A four-time Stanley Cup winner and three-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Roy revolutionized the butterfly style of goaltending.

Roy’s influence extends beyond his playing career, as he became a successful coach, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a division title in his first season behind the bench.

These players have not only scored goals and won games; they’ve inspired generations, and their legacy continues to shape the NHL. Here’s to the legends of the game, may we never forget their incredible contributions.

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