10 Revolutionaries That Changed the Face of Hockey

Hockey has undergone major changes and renovations that evolved the game of hockey both positively and negatively. It's tough to think of a more negative event than what happened last year with no professional hockey in North America. This list exclusively takes a look at 10 players who changed the face of hockey. But there are others of the ice who made an impact. Coaches such as Scotty Bowman and Jacques Lemaire. GM's such as Sam Pollack and Glen Sather. Broadcasters such as Foster Hewitt and Don Cherry. Even movies such as Slapshot and the Mighty Ducks have made an impact. Here are not the top 10 greatest hockey players of all-time but the players who profoundly changed the face of hockey.

10. Mario Lemieux

Anointed the next one at the 1984 draft. Mario Lemieux became the star player for one of the NHL's most talent lacking teams. No other player was scrutinized as much as Mario. Don Cherry called him the league's biggest floater before his first all-star game answered back by becoming the game's MVP. At the 87' Rendez Vous Lemieux took a pass from Gretzky and scored what some say is the second greatest goal scored ever between the two greatest teams of all-time. Like Bobby Orr's Lemieux's career will looked upon as what it could have been. Mario Lemieux has the highest points per game average and with the support of Scotty Bowman some make the case that he is the greatest player of all-time.

9. Vladislav Tretiak

The first European hockey goalie to frustrate NHL scorers was Vladislav Tretiak. The Russians played a suffocating hockey style that allowed lots of low-quality shots and they often scored 3-4 goals a game with only 18 shots on net.

8. Dominik Hasek

In the 1993-1994 season Grant Fuhr suffered a serious injury paving the way for Dominik Hasek's emergence. Hasek won the MVP award twice and the Vezina six times. His erratic "butterfly style" quickly made Standup goalies almost extinct. His greatest career moments were winning the Stanley Cup with Detroit, Owen Nolan becoming so frustrated with that he eventually called his own-goal Babe Ruth style, and of course stopping all five Canadian shooters in the 1998 Olympic shootout. Hasek's emergence paved the way for other European goalies and this season there are seven starting European goalies.

7. Patrick Roy

Before Patrick Roy nobody wanted to play goal. Goaltenders were generally known as the least athletic players on the team that couldn't skate. Patrick Roy is the all-time leader for wins in the NHL and is the only hockey player to win 3 Conn Smythe trophies. Roy elevated the position of goaltending with his tremendous athletic ability and soon after ever young Quebec hockey player wanted to play goal. Just look at all the French goaltenders in the NHL today: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, and Marc-Andre Fleury.

6. Gordie Howe

Mr. Hockey was the all-time points leader before Gretzky arrived. He is remembered for his longevity and his elbow. He was 18 when he debuted in the NHL and he still played till he was 52. He was still a dominate player in his 40's and able to win scoring championships and at 52 years young he still managed to have a 40 point season. He was immortalized with the phrase the Gordie Howe hat trick which is recording a goal, an assist, and a fight in a single game.

5. Paul Henderson

The Russian style of play changed hockey in the 1972 Summit Series and North America fans were shocked to see that Canada's best were having trouble against Russia. But Canada did battle back with the fiery speech of Phil Esposito and the spectacular play of Paul Henderson. He is remembered for scoring what some consider the greatest hockey goal ever. Little known fact. He didn't score just One game winning goal he scored three that series.

4. Wayne Gretzky

The Great One holds over 61 NHL records including most goals, assists, and points in both the regular season and playoffs. He was a timid player who brought finesse to the game and proved smaller less physical players can dominate in the NHL. The day he truly changed hockey was August 9, 1988 when he was sold from Edmonton to Los Angeles. The leafs tried to buy Richard but failed and most other elite players who were traded before Gretzky were at the twilight of their career. But the $15 million cash used to get Gretzky tarnished the game and fans recognized that it was now a business.

New York 2009

3. Maurice "The Rocket" Richard

The Rocket is recognized as hockey's first superstar player. He was the first to score 50 goals in 50 games. He is still regarded as the the greatest pure scorer Hockey as ever seen. He was so dominant that he raised hockey status in Quebec from a game to a religion. Roch Carrier wrote a short story about him "The Hockey Sweater" that further immortalized him. Off ice his greatest impact on the game was the Richard Riot. Maurice Richard was suspended for the remainder of the season in the playoffs and Montreal was livid. The next game Clarence Campbell attended at the forum a riot broke out. There was over $500, 000 in damages the arrest of truckloads of people.

2. Bobby Orr

The first defenseman to ever win the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the league. Before Bobby Orr defenseman were not supposed to score. His speed and accurate shot from center ice opened the game and allowed offensive defenseman to be an integral part of hockey.

1. Jacques Plante

The one player on the list who literally changed the face of hockey. The Original "Jake the Snake" was the first goalie to stop the puck behind the net, and the first goalie to raise his arm signaling that he wanted the defenseman to ice the puck. But the day he revolutionized hockey was November 1, 1959. He was hit in the face and required stitching. The Canadiens didn't have a spare goalie and Plante said he was only going back if he could wear a mask. His coach Toe Blake reluctantly let him wear a mask and the mask has been with hockey ever since.

Related Links:

Top 10 Greatest Hockey Players of All-Time

Top 10 Greatest Hockey Players of All-Time (11-25)

Going Outside

canadianwild.ca Feedback:

Kristin sent a message at Sep-26-2007 05:20:34

Comments: maybe you should put top ten greatest rookies of all time
Christian sent a message at Feb-24-2007 08:13:29

Updated: January 10, 2011

canadianwild.ca Creations

Copyright 2003-2011