Hockey is a top sport dearly loved in the Great White North. Not only does Canada have the best hockey players of all time, but it also has a huge number of passionate hockey fans. In fact, 12% of Canadians consider themselves hardcore hockey fans and follow all hockey-related events.
This is huge!
Pretty much all of the most famous hockey players are born in Canada.
The question is:
Who is the greatest hockey player of all time?
To find out, check out our list of top ten hockey players. And yes, they’re all Canadian.
Greatest Hockey Players of All Time
10. Martin Brodeur
First on our list of top hockey players of all time is Martin Brodeur. Born in Montreal in 1972, he played for the New Jersey Devils for an impressive 21 seasons from 1991 to 2014. With four Vezina trophies and three Stanley Cups, he is definitely a contender for the best hockey player of all time.
Without a doubt, Brodeur is one of the most iconic goalies in the NHL. Altogether, he has more than 691 career victories under his belt. His family greatly influenced his career. Martin Brodeur’s father was part of the Canada team that won a bronze medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics held in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
While playing for the Devils, Brodeur has won numerous honours and broke multiple records. In December 2014, after his contract with the Devils expired, he joined the St. Louis Blues. However, he only appeared six times for them before retiring in 2015.
In 2018, Brodeur moved back to work with the Devils at the front office. The same year, he was welcomed to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
9. Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby also makes it to our list of best hockey players. The Nova Scotia native joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005 at the tender age of 18 and won the 2005 World Junior Championship. In 2007, he won the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy. That year, he became the youngest captain in the NHL. At the end of his first season, Crosby became the youngest NHL player to score 100 points.
And that’s not all:
In 2009, he won the Stanley Cup, followed by the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2010. His meteoric rise continued at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he scored a dramatic goal to clinch the gold medal for Canada.
In his second season, Crosby made more progress and broke even more records. He scored 120 points from 79 games, which won him the Art Ross Trophy.
In 2011, Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion as a result of an on-ice hit. This forced him to miss the whole 2010-2011 NHL season. However, after treatment and rehabilitation, he returned to the team in March 2012. Crosby hit another purple patch during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons when he won back to back Stanley Cups with the Penguins.
On February 21, 2021, Crosby became the first Penguins player to represent the franchise in 1,000 games.
Unlike the other players on our list, Sidney Crosby is still active. Can he add more silverware to his impressive collection? We wouldn’t bet against it.
8. Mark Messier
Mark Messier is celebrated as one of the best Canadian hockey players. Born in St.Albert, Alberta, in January 1961, Messier played for the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers in an impressive career that lasted from 1979 to 2004.
He is the only hockey player to become a captain for two teams to Stanley Cup victories. In a span of ten years, Messier won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. With such remarkable success, he deserves to be listed as one of the top 10 hockey players of all time. He comes third when it comes to the most points in the regular season with 1,887, after Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr.
Messier was nicknamed the “Moose” thanks to his determination, strength, and agility, paired with great sportsmanship. He won the Hart Trophy two times, in 1990 and 1992, as the most valuable player. Also, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player in the 1984 playoffs. Another award he won was the Ted Lindsay Award for the most valuable player from the NHL Players’ Association during the 1989-90 and 1991-92 seasons.
Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Finally, he was named one of the top 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.
7. Bobby Hull
Next on our list of the greatest hockey players of all time is Bobby Hull. His greatness in ice hockey is known globally, and his biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
The Point Anne, Ontario, native played for the NHL Chicago Black Hawks from 1957 to 1972. Over time, Bobby earned himself the name “The Golden Jet” thanks to his blond hair, super skating speed, and swinging slap shot.
During the 1959-1960 season, Hull scored 39 goals. And two years later, he scored 50, equalling Maurice Richard’s record. The 1965-1966 NFL season saw Hull reach higher scores of 54 goals and 43 assists.
In 1961, Bobby Hull helped the Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1962 and 1966 as the highest scorer. In 1965 and 1966, he won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player. Also in 1965, The Golden Jet won the Lady Byng Trophy, which celebrates ability and great sportsmanship.
Hull played for the Winnipeg Jets in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1972 to 1979. Between 1972 and 1974, he was also the coach. He hit a purple patch in the 1974-1975 season, scoring a mouth-watering 77 goals. He would return to NHL and ultimately retire after the 1979-1980 season. Give how impressive Bobby Hull stats are, it’s no surprise that he is widely regarded as a contender for the best hockey player of all time.
6. Jean Beliveau
Jean Arthur Beliveau (1931-2014) was one of the most popular hockey players and NHL all-time top scorers. In a prolific career with the Montreal Canadiens between 1953 and 1971, he won as many as ten Stanley Cups.
But that’s not all:
As a Canadiens executive, he won the Stanley Cup a further seven times between 1973 and 1993. How about that?
Beliveau grew up in Victoriaville, Quebec, where he started his hockey career. Later, he joined a local hockey league team in 1946. He is recognized as one of the hockey greats due to the number of goals he scored. At 6 ft. 3 inches and 93 kg, he was also one of the biggest NHL players, known for his speed, skilful puck handling, and agility.
Over the course of his career, Beliveau scored 507 goals and became the team captain in 1961. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1956 for the highest scorer, the Hart Trophy in 1956 and 1964 as the most valuable player, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the play-offs.
After his retirement, Beliveau was appointed vice president of the Canadiens. In 1972, as a recognition of his extraordinary achievements, he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame without having to wait for the usual three years.
And with that, we’re halfway there! Moving on to the top five!
5. Maurice Richard
We cannot discuss the best Canadian hockey players without Maurice Richard (1921-2000). Another contender for the mantle of the best hockey player ever in Canada, the superstar played 18 seasons for the Montreal Canadiens.
Richard became the first hockey player to score 50 goals in a single season in 1944-1945. In addition, he was the first player to reach 544 goals in his career before he retired in 1960.
During his 18 years with the Montreal Canadiens, Richard won eight Stanley Cups in 1944, 1946, 1953, and 1956–60. In 1947, he won the Hart Trophy as the NHL most valuable hockey player. He played in 13 All-Star Games and was included in 14 post-season NHL All-Star Teams. These Maurice Richard stats are impressive and tell a tale of one of the greatest hockey players.
Sadly, Maurice Richard was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 1998 and died two years later. He was given a state funeral by the province of Quebec. He had previously been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame a year after his retirement.
4. Bobby Orr
Born in March 1948, Robert Gordon Orr is among the best NHL players of all time and was the first defenceman to score 30 and then 40 goals in a season, in 1969-1970 and 1974-1975, respectively.
Orr joined the Boston Bruins in 1966. During his ten years with them, he helped the team win two Stanley Cups in 1970 and 1972. Additionally, he helped the team to the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons.
Check this out:
In his stellar career, which made Bobby Orr one of the most exciting hockey players of all time, he more than 16 awards. Remarkably, he won the Norris Trophy for the most valuable defenceman eight times between 1968 and 1975. Additionally, he scored 64 points (21 goals and 43 assists) during the 1968-1969 season.
Bobby Orr won the Art Ross Trophy in 1970 and 1975 and the Hart Trophy three times between 1970 and 1972 as the most valuable player. In his career, Orr won several seasonal defenceman records for 102 assists, 46 goals, and 139 points.
In 1976, Bobby Orr joined the Chicago Black Hawks as an assistant coach. He retired in 1979 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the same year. After his retirement, Orr has written several books, including his memoirs, My Story (2013).