Sunday, April 22, 2012

Some of my Favorite Hockey Players of All-Time

As you can probably tell from reading my previous posts, I am a HUGE hockey fan.  I grew up in South Philadelphia right down the street from the sports complex so obviously I am a Flyers fan, and I'm damn proud of that. Because of this, most of my favorite hockey players are former Flyers.

I am not just a Flyers homer though, I enjoy watching all types of hockey.  I had an idea of listing some of my favorite non-Flyers players of all time.

Jarome Iginla
Without a doubt, one of my favorite players of all time is Jarome Iginla, the current Captain of the Calgary Flames.  On the ice, he is one tough guy.  He'll hit you, fight you, and then he'll score on you.  The perfect example of a captain, Iginla can do it all.  Off the ice, he is an even better guy.  All I've ever heard about Iginla is how he is a really nice, stand-up guy.  He is good at communicating with his team and the media and he is very active in his community.  If there is one player that deserves a Stanley Cup, it is Jarome Iginla.

Peter Forsberg
The Super Swede, Peter Forsberg was technically drafted by the Flyers and played here for 2 years later in his career, but Forsberg was primarily a member of the Avalance in Colorado, so I chose to put him on my list.  Peter Forsberg is another example of a player that can do everything on the ice.  One of the best playmakers of all time (assists per game is 4th all time), Forsberg was as gritty as he was skilled.  He had a bit of a slow start to his career, but once he got going, there was no stopping my favorite Swedish player of all time.  Like Iginla, Forsberg is also a class act.  His #21 jersey was recently retired in Colorado and the fan reaction was unbelievable.  An all-time great.

 Teemu Selanne
The Finnish Flash.  The Ageless Wonder. Terrific Teemu. Currently second among active players in points (behind Jaromir Jagr), Teemu Selanne has constantly been an offensive force to be reckoned with.  This all starts with his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets.  He scored 76 goals and had 56 assists. Let me repeat that; HE HAD 76 GOALS in his rookie season.  76 goals in a season is good for the fifth best of any player in the history of the game.  To be honest I didn't know that until recently (I've always liked hockey, but just in the past couple of years is when I started getting interested in statistics).  When I was younger, all I really knew was the Flyers.  I didn't really know about any teams on the west coast, until I saw the movie the Mighty Ducks.  I learned about the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim shortly after that and was amazed by the skill level of both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya.  Both guys who were not the biggest and strongest (something I can relate to as a kid) but were so talented that it didn't matter, they were that good.  Paul Kariya has since retired, but Teemu, at age 41 continues to be a serious contributor for the Anaheim Ducks and I am still a huge fan.

Jeremy Roenick

 JR was a member of the Flyers for a few years in the early 2000's but I included him because he spent most of his career with Chicago (along with a few other teams after).  Roenick is noted as one of the most outspoken players in the history of the NHL.  He always made the time to interact with fans, as he mentions that without the fans, professional sports wouldn't exist.  Another reason why I am a big fan of Jeremy Roenick is that he is American.  In a sport where there are not a lot of Americans, as a young kid growing up in Philadelphia, you become fans of American players just as they did when they were little (Anaheim's Bobby Ryan (from Cherry Hill, NJ) wears #9 because of his hockey hero Mike Modano, who is regarded as the best American player of all time).  Jeremy Roenick is a player who has had a long, successful career while staying true to himself and giving back to his fans, a fan favorite for sure.

There are plenty of other non-Flyers that I like, but these are just a few of the players I am a fan of.  To me, they are all hard workers who respect the game.  They are good guys who are easy to root for.

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