5. Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux was born on October 5th, 1965 in Montreal, Quebec, and today he is a retired professional hockey player. He played 17 seasons in the NHL, mostly for the Pittsburgh Penguins as a center, and kept the position for the Penguins during two terms of his career.
Lemieux is known to be more than just one of the greatest hockey players of the 1980s. He is known as one of the best hockey players that the sport has ever seen. His nickname was “The Magnificent One” because of his pure talent in the sport of hockey.
Lemieux was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins at a time when the team was struggling. His career began in 1984, and the Penguins hadn’t had a good season in five years. Lemieux was a turning point for the team. In his first game, he took the puck off of the legendary Ray Bourque and scored a goal. He was also dubbed the MVP of the All-Star Game even though he was still a rookie.
He went on to shatter records throughout his career. He was consistently ranked as one of the top one or two players in the league. He was also the only player to ever come near some of the huge targets that Wayne Gretzky created. He is not only responsible for scoring a huge amount of goals; he created some of the most iconic goal moments in NHL history.
Unfortunately, injury and illness plagued most of his career. He had a back injury that got in his way, and he was also diagnosed with cancer. Yet, he continued to play through much of his treatment. His strength and determination throughout his difficult career earned him respect in the most unlikely places.
He went into retirement in 1997 and came back between 2000 and 2006. He owned part of the Penguins for much of this period, however, the team went back up for sale in 2006.
4. Mark Messier
Mark Messier was born January 18th, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta. He was a hockey player in the NHL, and in addition to his time in the NHL, he also played for the World Hockey Association. He also worked alongside the president and manager of the team the New York Rangers.
Mark Messier is another player who is known as one of the most valuable players of the 1980s and of all time. He was on six Stanley Cup teams, and he served as the captain to two different NHL teams in a championship. He helped the New York Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 45 years and fans began calling him The Messiah.
In addition to a huge amount of Stanley Cup wins, he also receive the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Trophy. He was nominated as an NHL All-Start 15 times. As soon as he became eligible, the Hockey Hall of Fame inducted him into its ranks.
His first years were spent with the World Hockey Association, and he played for the Indianapolis Racers and the Cincinnati Strangers. In 1979, he signed with the Edmonton Oilers in the entry draft. He remained with the Oilers until 1991 when he moved to the New York Rangers. After 1997, he played with the Vancouver Canucks. However, The Messiah returned to the New York Rangers in 2000 until his retirement in 2004.
When he retired, he was only 11 games behind the official NHL record of 1,767 regular season games. However, he does hold the record for both regular and playoff games and has completed 1,992. Overall, he played 25 NHL seasons. He was honored by the Rangers when they retired his number in 2006. The Oilers then followed suit in 2007.
3. Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is known as the one to beat. He is a Canadian hockey player who played for 20 seasons in the NHL. He is one of the most accomplished players in the history of hockey, and one of the most famous athletes of all time. Many have called him the greatest hockey player ever.
The enormous records that he set are rarely matched by any other player. When he retired in 1999, there were 61 records in his name. He held 40 regular season records, six All-Star achievements and 15 playoff records. Even 15 years after his retirement, he holds 60 out of the 61 records he achieved during his years on the ice.
During his professional years, he played for the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings, the St Louis Blues and the New York Rangers. He was a formidable player and many hockey players’ star moments were when they could come anywhere near Gretzky. Even today, he is referred as the highest benchmark in professional hockey.