Do you know “The Great One”? In the world of hockey, that can only refer to Wayne Gretzky. While Gretzky has retired from the NHL, his skills and love for the game live on in today’s NHL teams, such as the Calgary Flames. While Gretzky was arguably the greatest NHL player in the league’s history, he is among the best of the best that have ever played professional hockey:
1. Wayne Gretzky
No “best of the best” list of NHL players is complete without “The Great One.” Gretzky’s accomplishments during his career include:
o Four Stanley Cups
o Nine-time NHL MVP
o Jersey number (#99) permanently retired throughout NHL
o More than 60 NHL records
o NHL all-time leading scorer
o Two Canada Cup MVPs
Born in Ontario Canada, at the age of three-years-old, Gretzky received his first pair of ice skates. Gretzky mastered his skating skills on his personal ice rink.
2. Gordie Howe
Howe was an ironman on ice. In fact, his nickname “Mr. Hockey” is actually a registered trademark. Howe played the most games in the NHL’s history. Eleven different Halls of Fame have inducted Howe. A “Goldie Howe Hat Trick” refers to a trifecta that differed from the standard definition of three goals in a single game. Instead, the Goldie Howe Hat Trick includes one goal, one assist, and one won fight. Interestingly, Howe only had one Goldie Howe Hat Trick during his illustrious career.
3. Mario Lemieux
Like Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux had amazing speed and elegance on the ice. Born in Montreal, Canada, Lemieux began playing hockey at three-years-old! Then in 1984, he became the NHL’s first overall pick. He earned the nickname “Super Mario” during his hockey career. Lemieux won two Stanley Cups, and retired with 613 goals and 881 assists. He also won the hockey gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics, representing Canada.
4. Bobby Orr
Orr was born in Ontario, Canada. He started playing hockey soon after he had begun to walk. Orr earned the highest salary of any NHL rookie in history, receiving roughly $25,000 per year. He also became the first NHL defenseman who was also potent on offense. Orr led the Boston Bruins to two NHL Stanley Cup championships (1970, 1972), while he won the defenseman MVP eight consecutive years. During his NHL career, Orr also helped to launch the NHL Players Association.
5. Maurice “Rocket” Richard
Born in Montreal, Richard started to play hockey shortly after he mastered walking. He mastered his skating on a rink behind his home. Richard became famous for his goal-scoring and hard-hitting on the ice. He led his team, the Montreal Canadians, to an impressive eight NHL championships. One of Richard’s greatest feats during his career was racking up 50 goals in 50 NHL games. Richard entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, one year after retiring.
There has been one “Great One” in NHL history, along with other great ones. Use NHL merchandise to cheer on your favorite NHL team to the great Stanley Cup!