Ice hockey is a competitive sport, with plenty of blood, sweat and tears poured into the profession by those who play, as well as those who sit in the stands. Taking fan favourites into consideration, as well as top goal scorers, the following ice hockey players are those who’ve earned a spot on the list as the best ice hockey players of all time.
1. Wayne Gretzky
The official top pick of the NHL, Wayne Gretzky bears the title of the greatest hockey player ever. His nickname of the ‘Great One’ was due to having more assists than any other player in the history of the NHL (an amazing 1,963 assists), along with being the highest point scorer of all time.
In fact, he reached 200 points in one season for a total of four times throughout his illustrious career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and has six All-Star records, as well as an inclusion in the IIHF Centennial All-Star Team.
2. Gordie Howe
Starting off in the NHL at the Detroit Red Wings in 1946, he retired in 1980, but earned a spot on this list due to the sheer number of wins he accumulated (even playing alongside his sons for a game or two), and even has a move named after him: the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
This move is when a player has a fight, an assist and a goal within a single game. He holds the record for appearing in the most number of NHL games – a total of 1,767 – as well being the only player to have 22 consecutive 20-goal seasons in the NHL.
3. Bobby Orr
No list is complete without a mention of Bobby Orr, the player who is considered to be the first and best offensive defenseman. He was the first defenseman to lead the league in points in 1969/70 (totalling 120), and finished off the next season with a career-best of 139.
His main claim to fame is having completed eight straight Norris Trophies as the top defender within his league, and during his 657 games, he set records for his time with 270 goals and 645 assists for 915 points.
4. Maurice Richard
A record setter like the Roulette bonuses in Canada, Maurice Richard, nicknamed The Rocket was a well-known record breaker who had an equally hot temper and aggressive playing style. He was the first player to ever score 500 goals and won an incredible eight Stanley Cups.
He was so beloved, that fans rioted in the streets when he was suspended for aggressive behaviour on the field in 1955.
5. Mario Lemieux
With an impressive height on his side, Mario Lemieux was a player known for his incredible agility and speeds, gaining the nickname of the ‘Magnificent One’. Not only did he managed to win two Stanley Cups in the early 1990s, but he also scored an impressive 690 career goals.
After retiring in 1997, he later became the majority owner of the team he played for: the Pittsburgh Penguins, helping them out of bankruptcy. When Pittsburgh won a Stanley Cup in 2009, he became the only person to ever have won the cup as both a player and an owner.