Best Ice Hockey Leagues (Part 2)

NCAA

Over the last decade, NCAA hockey has become a top choice development path for hockey players to take to the NHL. 

A record of over 300 former college players skated in the NHL in 2016-17, accounted for 32% of the league increased from just 20% at the turn of the century.

This significant growth represents a change in how both players and teams are perceived and utilizing the NCAA as a pathway to get to the NHL. For teams, they can grant a promise but somewhat each player who is wishing to head to the NCAA receiving up to four years of essentially free growth. For players, they can learn to got degree and master their game before reaching the AHL or NHL with a physical and maturity level of advantages over their counterparts. Given its advantages, it’s no surprise that so many players from all over the global prefer utilizing the NCAA as their route to become professional hockey players.

NCAA Frozen Four

The Frozen Four is not only the NCAA championship game, but also the stage for many future NHL players to show off their excellent skills. 

There are countless number of former NCAA players currently in the NHL, but here are a few honorable mention just to give you an idea of how impactful the league has been over the last few years. They are Jack Eichel, Jonathan Toews, Nick Bjugstad, Johnny Gaudreau and Duncan Keith. This impressive list of alumni is growing, proving that the future of hockey in the NCAA is bright than ever, with both players and the NHL loving the results.

American Hockey League (AHL)

The American Hockey League is considered as the last stop for a developing talent before being call-up by an NHL.

Oftentimes, NHL teams will make the decision whether or not a prospect is ready for the big leagues after they have competed in a certain amount of international play or within a North American league. This allows many AHL teams to become host to some of the most talented young players of the world who are dreaming of breaking into the NHL.

Best Ice Hockey Leagues (Part 1)

Do you know if there are hockey leagues that dominated the NHL in terms of talent, viewership, and fan-base? Well, if you do, then this sport should be just for you.

It is commonly known that players from around the world gather to the NHL for a chance to get the Lord Stanley’s Cup and play to shine on the biggest possibly hockey leagues around North America. However, hockey is not a single event that is exclusive solely to North America as there are many European leagues such as the SEL, KHL, and SM-liiga proves that they are quite advanced at developing talented hockey players that can play successfully at any level.

In this post, you might find a breakdown of the top best hockey leagues around the world:

Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

The Ontario Hockey League is popular, much like the QL and WHL, for nurturing some amazing talent that has a enormous impact at the NHL level. Players such as Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and John Tavares have all played in the OHL stage and made their reputations in the NHL.

Robert Thomas played for the Hamilton Bulldogs as he got the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the MVP of the OHL playoffs. While the OHL has 68 games scheduled for 20 teams, the league has done a wonderful job of scheduling games that compete mostly from Thursday till weekend. Since the majority of hockey players taking part in the OHL are aged 15-20, there are possibilities of some scheduling conflicts with ones are in school. However, don’t even think that some of these teenage players still have to attend school, they have clear schedule to make room to constantly improve their hockey game.

The OHL consistently nurtures players that are all-around skilled and level players. While leagues such as the QMJHL is well-known for producing offensive superstars, the OHL seems to produce players that are completely well-rounded. Even though the three major junior hockey leagues is not similar in terms of their respective styles, each has consistently nurtured a plethora of talent for NHL teams around North America.

Ice Hockey vs. Field Hockey

It is not hard to determine the major differences between ice hockey and field hockey which is the surface on which the games are organized. The differences, however, go beyond the ground surface which may not be clear even to the uninitiated hockey fan.

Origins. The Loudon Field Hockey Association claims the origins of field hockey dated back 4,000 years, due to evidences from drawings on an ancient tomb in the Nile Valley. In which, ancient Aztecs, Greeks and Romans played similar forms of field hockey. The modern version came to popularity in the mid-19th century in Great Britain with the first international competition took place in 1895. The first official ice hockey rules were recorded on the other side of the Atlantic in Montreal in 1877, with the first official league was not established until over a decade later.

Participants. Ice hockey consist of six players per team at a time: three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie while field hockey allows up to 11 players to compete: five forwards, three halves, two backs and a goalie, depending on the level of play and coaching strategy. Field hockey is played in more than 70 countries around the world but unable to compare with the popularity of ice hockey.

Equipment. The basic objective of both game is the same as hitting an object into the opponent’s net. However, the equipment to shoot the object, the object itself and the nets, are different. A field hockey goal made of two 7-foot high posts spaced 12 feet wide while an ice hockey goal is 4 feet high and 6 feet apart. Field hockey strikes a ball while ice hockey hits a puck by curved sticks of differing strength. Due to the physical element in ice such as body checking, ice hockey players wear much more equipment. The hardness of an ice hockey surface, puck and the rapid speed involved with ice skates over shoes make ice hockey a faster-paced sport.

Time and place. An ice hockey game last 60-minute of 3 matches and is organized on an ice-covered surface of varying sizes while a field hockey game match has two 35-minute halves and is organized on a 60-by-100-yard grass field.

Types of Hockey Players (Part 2)

6. The Competitor

This player is greatly competitive and is not shy of giving their opinion especially in the moment when they might get a lot of cards. Sometimes they get high temper and frustration coming out on the field and even occasionally shout at their own teammates. However, all comes out from the passion of winning.

7. The Trickster

This player will be the first one that spend hours practicing a new skill. No matter it’s spinning around in a circle, some fancy legs skill, freestyle tricks or scoring from an impossible angle, they are the first to know.

8. The Speedster 

Those players that puts on their roller skates and as soon as they change gears, everyone else is following.  They are wingers (or attacking mids) who can be very dangerous being the number 1 at defending short corners.

9. The Hockey Nerd

These players live for playing hockey, holding notepad in team talks, taking note of everything the coach says, always comes early for training and always know all the right answers. 

10. The Injured One

This person always has some kind of injury, from nasty ones like broken fingers, ankle injuries from stepping on the ball, to sprains, strains, bad back, sore knees, muscle cramps, and the like.

11. The Headless player

This type of player runs all over the field without having a clue about what they should do and often end up with unnecessary running. It’s just tiring.

12. The Rock

This is the super tough player, who is physically or mentally strong and difficult to get past. They are often a defender, goalkeeper or post player who performs unbelievable tackles or saves on corners.

13. The Leader

This is usually the captain who inspires others by encouraging talk in the huddle as well as the way they puts their body on the line for their team on the field. The leader plays with 100% energy, leaving nothing left in the tank.

Types of Hockey Players (Part 1)

In every field hockey team, there always seems to be similar types of hockey players, no matter what country or what level they are. 

In this article, we will attempt to breakdown different hockey player personalities in every team.

1. The Nutter

It can be the goalkeeper who is a bit crazy or it could also be the player that dives for everything, proud of their battle wounds such as bruises, grazes, scars and has the tendency to fly into tackles from every side, never afraid of being hurt. 

2. The Dribbler

This player has really excellent skills and is good at dribbling but tends to hold on to the ball too long because either they don’t trust their team mates or because they want to show off how good they can do with the ball.

3. The Joker 

In school they are the “class clown” which doesn’t change even they are off the hockey field. They like to joking around, playing pranks, doing silly dancing or tricks and making everyone laugh. Although they like messing around, using laughter as their way of focussing and staying relaxed, they can be good at the game.

4. The Poacher

This player is the one who always there to make the final touch and get credited with a goal even though others have done all the hard work. It’s good on them but with those understand that hockey was a team game, they are not fan of all attacking minded players who just want their name on the sheet for scoring.

5. Fitness Freak 

That player can run nonstop and always wants to do extra fitness and running. They tend to play in midfield because they get to do the most… RUNNING! Their legs keep running right to the end even when they haven’t been substituted!

Facts about Hockey (part 2)

The greatest hockey player of all time is Wayne Gretzky with 61 NHL records. Until now, nobody else even comes close to reach this many records.

The record for most points in a single game is achieved by Darryl Sittler with 10 points in a match  in 1976 between his team named the Leafs, and the Bruins. The final winning came to the Leafs. Before Darryl Sittler, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard set the record with eight points.

Joe Malone holds the record for most scored goals in a game with seven goals in a game in 1920. 

The modern goalie mask was invented by the goaltender Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens in 1959.

Manon Rheaume was the first woman to play in the NHL as the goalie for Tampa Bay Lightning.

The first NHL million dollar contract belonged to Bobby Orr in 1971 which was worth $200,000 for five year term contract.

The first goalie to hit a goal in the other team’s net was Ron Hextall playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Zamboni is the machine used on to keep the ice properly maintained which was named after Frank Zamboni – the inventor in 1949.

The names of twelve women appear on the Stanley Cup were either team executives or owners.

Each member of a Stanley Cup winning team will have a personal day with the Cup; in which, many of the champs have followed the tradition of filling the Cup with food such as: cereal, meatballs, soup, vegetable, milkshakes, fruits, chicken wings, poutine, and ice cream.

During a game, the goalies are not allowed to cross the centre-ice red line with or without the puck and in case, the goalies are injured during a game, anyone can fill the position — even a fan from inside the arena!

Interesting Facts about Hockey

Hockey has been popular around 1363, when King Edward III of England banned the sport in a royal proclamation; however the histories of the game playing with curved sticks, could date as far back as 4,000 years ago to ancient Egyptian times. People believed that the word hockey was taken from the Middle French word ‘hoquet’, which means shepherd’s stave. Nowadays, there are many new types of hockey, including ice hockey, field hockey, roller hockey, sledge hockey, and even street hockey which is children’s favorite.
In this post, let’s look at some interesting facts of hockey.

  • The first indoor hockey game was played in 1875, in Montreal, Canada before the NHL (National Hockey League) was even founded in 1917.
  • At its early days, hockey sticks were straight until Stan Mikita, a Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer introduced the curve stick in the 60s.
  • Ice Hockey pucks have three-inch diameters which must be frozen before each game so that they don’t bounce during the game.
  • The first outdoor puck used on outdoor ice hockey in the 1800s was made of frozen cow dung.
  • The fastest puck recorded in history, at 118 miles per hour was hit by Bobby Hull.
  • The Stanley Cup was created in 1893 after the name of Lord Stanley of Preston, a Canadian Governor General which originally was only seven inches tall while It is more than 35 inches tall today.
  • The Stanley Cup has been organized and awarded annually since 1914 with the only exceptions in 1919 when there was a Spanish flu epidemic, and in 2005 due to a strike.
  • The Stanley Cup was once used as a cereal bowl being left on the side of the road by mistake, and was even once lost on a flight.
  • The measurement of competition rinks in North America is 85 feet wide by 200 feet long.
  • Montreal Canadiens is the team to win the most Stanley Cups in the league’s history.

Best Hockey Players of All Time (part 2)

Terry Sawchuk

Many people believed that Terry Sawchuk is the greatest goalie in hockey. During a 21-year playing in the field, he won four Stanley Cups – three with the Red Wings (1952, 1954, 1955) and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1967); four Vezina Trophies and 447 career wins, which included an unprecedented 103 shutouts, a record that stood until 2009. He left his mark on hockey, and received 400 stitches before finally donning a face mask. All his facial injuries were recreated in 1966 Time magazine by a makeup artist. Unfortunately, Sawchuk died in 1970 at the age of 40 after a long time suffering from depression and alcoholism which caused him in a drunken fight with a teammate resulted in fatal internal injuries.

Jean Béliveau

Jean Béliveau is considered one of the game’s best centers with 10 Stanley Cups (1956–60, 1965–66, 1968–69, 1971) with the Montreal Canadiens and scored a record of 507 goals. In fact, Béliveau was so awesome that he didn’t even have to wait the customary three years after retiring to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1972).

Maurice Richard

Maurice Richard used to called “The Rocket” who rewrote the record books being the first right winger to score 500 goals, the first to light up the lamp 50 times in a single season and won eight Stanley Cups (1944, 1946, 1953, 1956–60) during his 18 years playing with the Montreal Canadiens. Maurice Richard is an idol among French Canadians, that’s why his suspension (for fighting) in 1955 caused fans to riot in Montreal.

Mario Lemieux

The 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 meters) tall Mario Lemieux has great speed and agility which help him won two Stanley Cups (1991–92) during his 17 years as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored an impressive 690 career goals although he missed a number of seasons after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. In 1997 “The Magnificent One” retired, but then returned as a player for several seasons before his last retirement in 2006. Three years later Pittsburgh won another Stanley Cup in 2009, making Lemieux the first person to win the cup as both a player and an owner.

Best Hockey Players of All time

Hi hockey fan, you might wonder who are the best hockey players of all time. Each of you might have your own answers. Let’s cross check with our list to see if they match. The list is subjectively built to ensure fair and fun. 

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin is not only a great hockey player but also “the world’s greatest human being.”After making his National Hockey League (NHL) debut in 2005 with the Washington Capitals, Ovechkin led the league in scoring, winning the Maurice Richard Trophy five times (2008–09, 2013–15) while he also won the Hart Memorial Trophy three times (2008–09, 2013) as the most valuable player in the NHL. Besides, he has an amazing personality, entertaining fans with amusing quotes “Russian machine never breaks” and stunts. 

Jacques Plante

The man literally changed the face of hockey in general and Canadian in particular. The Montreal Canadien goalie is credited with popularizing face masks after an incident in 1959 when he was hit by a slap shot and needed 21 facial stitches. Despite the injury, he returned to the game after getting sewn up, refused to take the ice unless he could wear a face mask. Plante was also a stellar goaltender, helping Montreal win five consecutive Stanley Cups (1956–60) while he was a seven-time winner of the Vezina Trophy (1956–60, 1962, 1969), as the league’s best goalie and the league’s most valuable player in 1962.

Steve Yzerman

Steve Yzerman helped transform the Dead Wings into one of the most-dominating successful teams, restoring Detroit as Hockeytown. He was one of the longest-serving captain in NHL history, brought three Stanley Cups (1997–98, 2002) to the city of Detroit. Additionally, he is one of the all-around players who could score and play defense, he earned respect for his class and talented leadership style.

Sœur Chantal- Canadian hockey player

According to the Montreal Gazette News, every Sunday night, the nun Chantal Desmarais put on the competition uniform bearing number 7, representing the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Pionnières winger has been the star of the Boucherville women’s hockey federation for almost two decades.

An avid fan of the Montreal team, she strives for the performance of one of her favorite players, Brendan Gallagher. She is very good at technical spleen avoid the chase of defenders to face the goalkeeper directly. Sr. Chantal did not hesitate to pass the ball to his teammates, nor did he care about not scoring in a few matches, as long as he still played well.

After all, the score is rarely a major problem in the federation consisting of only three teams, although the two leading teams have a habit of showing their score in the final. Sister Chantal said her team won a few times, but didn’t care about counting the number of wins: “The goal of sport is to free people, not to put more pressure on you”.

For Laporte’s teammate, Sister Chantal was rarely punished for playing, except for one time that everyone remembered. Sister was punished but repeatedly explained: “I did not do that! I didn’t do anything! “, Really humorous”.

“Maybe some people think these sports seem extreme, but what we do is not as important as how we do it,” the nun concluded. Growing up in the St-Hubert area of ​​South Shore in Montreal, she can play ice skating wherever she likes, on the school’s ice rink, the street or the path, imagining herself as the idol Yvan “pheasant” Cournoyer, the right flanker, was small but at a frightening pace since the 1960s and 1970s.

For Chantal, there was nothing unusual about a nun who taught to punch or slide on ice to whip the net.