The sport of ice hockey has seen several superstar ice hockey players grace the rink and showcases their abilities in front of thousands of people in the stadium and millions watching it live. Forming a list of the five greatest ice hockey players to play this game is bound to get some angry reactions, as opinions are subjective, and it is likely that someone's favorite player did not make it to the list. Sure, Sidney Crosby is an excellent player and will be remembered for a long, long time, but unfortunately, he did not make the cut. He might someday, just not now.
Some people even pick Conor McDavid for their ice hockey Mount Rushmore lineup. I do believe he is a great player, but I also believe that there are far greater players. It would be fair to say that these guys are gods of the sport, and to reach their level would be a tough task. Several players do have the potential to reach the level of the people mentioned in this list; whether it happens or not remains to be seen.
So, without further ado, let us discuss the top 5 greatest ever ice hockey players of all time. See if your favorite player appears on the list.
1. Wayne Gretzky
Could you even talk about ice hockey players without mentioning Wayne Gretzky’s name once? It is virtually impossible. His records may as well be written in a separate book. Being the only player to score 200 points in one season, Gretzky became a crucial part of his teams.
Gretzky also has the record for scoring the highest number of goals in a single season, along with the record of the quickest 50 goals. It is because of his performances that ice hockey became a widely recognized sport. His stint with the Los Angeles Kings, in particular, was a big reason why California became so big on ice hockey.
2. Bobby Orr
Ice hockey fans always debate whether Bobby Orr could have been the face of ice hockey if his career was longer. Some even say that he would have left Gretzky behind if that were the case.
However, despite only playing for 10 seasons in the NHL, Bobby Orr left a legacy behind that is hard to match. This offensive defenseman was a trailblazer during his heyday and brought so many changes to the game that players have started emulating his style.
3. Mario Lemieux
There aren’t many ice hockey players who can brag about only taking 70 games to score a whopping 282 points. Mario Lemieux however, holds that distinction. During his time, Mario was considered to be the biggest player in the national hockey league.
Mario is also a classic case of what could have been, as injuries and bad health hampered his career. After his career was over, he started the Mario Lemieux Foundation for cancer research, showing that he is equally great off the ice.
4. Gordie Howie
It would be fair to say that if Wayne Gretzky didn’t plan on having a career in ice hockey, Georgie Howie would never have been dethroned and would have been the ultimate record holder in the NHL.
He still owns the record of scoring eight hundred goals, which justifiably earned him a nickname of Mr. Hockey. Gordie won 6 major trophies within 10 years and was also lauded for his mental toughness.
5. Jaromir Jagr
Some might argue that Jaromir’s name should be in a top 10 list instead of the top 5, but the accolades he achieved during his career would make a strong argument. With one Hart, three Lester Pearsons, and five scoring titles, it is hard to argue against the legendary status of this Hall of Famer.
Jaromir took a three-year sabbatical in the middle of his career, and with his goal scoring record, one might wonder how much more he could have achieved.
Ice hockey players tend to sacrifice and give it their all on the ice. With this kind of determination, it wouldn’t be a surprise seeing newer faces in times to come.