I was approached today by a sports historian out of Ireland. He's writing a book about sport in his country, but is including a section on world sports as well. He's asked me to help him identify the world's top 36 hockey players of all time.
I thought I would throw this one out to my colleagues and readers. Below I've come up with a quick list of 36. It is not any particular order, nor am I worried about order.
I want to know who and why other players should be included. Should more current players be included? Should more pioneers be included? How about more Soviets and international players? Or goaltenders? Who should be dropped?
Either post comments in the comments section down below, or email me at email@example.com. I will respond to all emails and comments. and the best will be acknowledged and republished in a follow up post.
The floor is yours for the weekend....
UPDATE: Saturday August 11th, 2007, 8PM
Well this post has led to quite a few comments and dozens of emails. Everyone has their opinion it seems. Some common threads so far:
- The Soviet players never played enough games at an elite level to be ranked as high as top 36. While that is a usual detraction, I'm not sure if that's completely valid. But Slava Fetisov's name has been duly noted.
- Other names that have been duly noted - Joe Sakic, Niklas Lidstrom, Jari Kurri, Borje Salming, Frank Mahovlich, Paul Coffey, Gilbert Perreault and Scott Stevens. Sergei Fedorov has received a surprising amount of support.
- Candidates for dropping include Valeri Kharlamov, Vladislav Tretiak, Chris Chelios, Bobby Clarke, Henri Richard, and Dominik Hasek
- Another candidate is Syl Apps, and that surprises me a lot, but also shows how underrated he and that Leafs team was. If not Apps, how about playoff superstar Teeder Kennedy? Or goalie Turk Broda?
- Players no one has objected to: Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Patrick Roy, Mark Messier, Doug Harvey, Eddie Shore, Jacques Plante, Phil Esposito, Stan Mikita, Steve Yzerman, Guy Lafleur, Red Kelly, Ray Bourque, Glenn Hall and Jaromir Jagr. None of these players will be removed from the final list, and I'll also include Terry Sawchuk in that group. One person objected to him, believe it or not.