NHL Hockey League is one of the most prominent sporting event that many sports fans follow. But more than the excitement it brings, this sports league also has a vibrant history and listing down prominent individuals who made their mark in field due to their records. Discover five of these prominent hockey players who contributed to the league’s history.
Gretzky can be considered as a hall of famer in the NHL Hockey League after setting his own records that seem to top every career and season records. He listed the highest records on season and career goals, assists, points, hat trick, and others. A player until 1999, Gretzky remains to be a prominent name in the league until today. His popularity also gained him a spot in ProStars, a cartoon show alongside sports stars Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson.
Gordie Howe also set his own records by topping milestone goal seasons, most season plays, and most games. Just like Gretzky, the former Detroit Red Wings player is still a prominent name in the field despite his retirement. The now 86-year old star received numerous awards during his active playing years and gained a spot in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
Born in 1890, Joe Malone is perhaps the oldest NHL Hockey League star in this list. The former Montreal Canadiens player, Malone’s personal records include most goals in a single game, highest goals per game average, and the fastest player to hit 100 goals in the history of NHL. In 1950, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and received the Stanley Cup championship title during his active years. He suffered a heart attack in 1969 and died at the age of 79.
Also known for being a free agent, Brodeur spent his playing career with New Jersey Devils and being a part of Canada’s national team. His records include most regular season wins, shutouts, overtime wins,a and many more. Awards received from the league include the prominent Vezina Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy, Stanley Cup, and others. Still an active player, many fans are waiting to see what he can still offer in the league
A former player of Pittsburgh Penguins, Lemieux also proved his talent by setting his own records in terms of shorthanded goals, 5-goal games in four careers, third best goals per game, and others. His awards also include Hockey Hall of Fame 1997, NHL All-Star MVP, Chrysler-Dodge/NHL Performer of the Year, to name a few.
Without a doubt, discussing NHL Hockey League is incomplete without running through these names. Find out more about these stars and make them as inspiration if you are into the sport.
Ice hockey is getting popular each day as more cities have their own professional teams with plenty of fan interest. Playing a game is always a fun activity until you continue to enjoy it in true sportsmanship spirit. Ice hockey is no different. The manipulations on the ice rink and the excitement of scoring goals, is a great way to keep your body healthy and provide an outburst for the accumulated stress. This game is mostly played indoor stadium set up due to the thick ice rink involved. The game is equally popular across categories of people including children and adults.
However, this game is not as simple as most people tend to think. There are a series of rule that govern the proceedings of a single game. Here are some basics of playing hockey.
- The Rink
The game is played on long oval rink, 200 feet long and a width of 85 feet . There are some markings this rink, which divide it into sections. The red-line at the middle is known as the center line. This line is flanked with 2 blue-lines running parallel in several zones of ice. These lines divide oval rink into two neutral zones, attacking zones and defensive zones. 17 feet from both ends, directly at the center, there are opposing goals. The goals are 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Shooting the punk into the goals scores one point for the team.
- The team
One team has 6 players. However, due to penalties, the team will often finds itself with less players over time. The six players’ are divided into 3 categories; goalies, defense-men and forwards. The goalie stays in front of the team’s goal, though he may venture out whenever he can to get to puck and then pass it.
Unlike football and basketball, scoring in ice hockey is not hard. If a team is able to get the puck’ past the opposing team’s goalie & into the net, a goal is scored.
- Pro Hockey
A pro hockey is divided into 3 equal periods of 20 minutes each. Sometimes youth leagues may only play 2 periods, or may shorten the duration for every period to ten or 15 minutes. If the game has a tie at end of 3 periods, the game will go into sudden-death overtime, with 1 member of every team sitting out. This sudden death period continues until one of the team scores, or when the 5-minute time limit is over. If the time limit expires, this game goes into shoot-out, with every team taking 3 penalty shoots. If there is still a tie after 3 rounds of the shoot-out, this will go on until one of the team scores.
Ice hockey coaching is definitely a tough job. There’s a lot to teach, and keep track of. If most of your players are talented and more advanced, you’ve got to be continually challenging them with something interesting and new. On the other hand, if your players are beginners or young, you’ll have to spend weeks teaching them ways to perform actions that are completely unnatural to a human being. One area that’s often forgotten is hockey fitness. Off-ice and on-ice training is vital to take all player to the next level.
Ice hockey coaching is very important to hone your skills. If you can’t shoot, pass, or skate, it’s difficult for you to be asset to your team. That being said, a player who’s not fit enough to get through the entire game also isn’t much worth. Any player who’s not thinking about his fitness and conditioning isn’t playing close to his or her potential, and a good coach’s job is to assist the player to reach that potential.
Practice is important because it’s a foundation on which great teams are built in any sport. A well-trained team is one that’s well-prepared and is not surprised by any situation that arises during the game.
Ice hockey coaching requires consistent practice routine that develops individual skills, especially at youth level, by consistently drilling various fundamental aspects such as puck-handling, skating, passing, shooting, and defense. But it’s important that coach spares ample time to develop various team concepts, such as defensive and offensive plays, special game situations, and special teams. At the same time it’s also important to strengthen the chemistry between all team players.
Interaction with Players
Coaches in any sport deal with distinct personalities of various players of their team. So knowing how each player responds and what buttons to push is a necessity. How a coach will deal with players who want more play time or have low confidence level might make a big difference between a good team and one that’s cellar.
Usually administrative duties are more important for coaches at a lower level. This part of their job entails creating a thorough practice schedule, maintaining equipment, and making sure a rink is available. They also keep an eye on all team operations. While this is not a glamorous part of the job, but it can’t be allowed to slide at all!
Once practice is over and all preparation has been done, it’s now up to the coach to make the right decision on the game day. Much of the coach’s strategy would depend on the opponent, so an experienced coach would spend some time to scout on his opponent. Knowing about the weaknesses and strengths of opponent is almost as important as knowing the abilities of one’s own team.
While it is widely known that players from across the globe flock to the National Hockey League (NHL) to play in, arguably, the biggest hockey stage in North America and also for a chance to win the Stanley Cup, ice hockey around the world has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. It is no longer a phenomenon exclusive solely to North America as some hockey leagues have begun rivaling the NHL in terms of viewership, talent, and fan-base. European leagues such as the KHL, SEL, and SM-liiga have shown that they can be quite adept at developing talented players that have the drive and skill to succeed at any level. Below, therefore, we take a look at 3 of the best hockey leagues outside the NHL as follows:
- Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
The KHL is widely acknowledged as the best league outside the NHL and the strongest European ice-hockey league. Founded in 2008, the KHL is comprised of 24 teams (6 in each division), with eight of the top seeded teams in the various divisions vying for the playoffs. Additionally, the KHL playoff format is quite similar to that of the NHL with the top 2 teams from each division competing for the Gagarin Cup.
What makes this league so intriguing is the variety of players from different countries and backgrounds on show. And with over 700 players from 14 countries competing for places in 24 teams, the competition has to be, undoubtedly, top-notch.
Regarded by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) as the second strongest hockey league in Europe, Finland’s SM-liiga has contributed to not only the skyrocketing popularity of hockey in the country, but the country’s improved fortunes at international level with the U20 team making it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Junior Championships. Since taking over from the SM-sarja in 1975, the SM-liiga has thrived in its hockey responsibilities resulting in increased support, viewership, talent, and level of play in Finland over the past three decades. The league is made up of 14 teams competing for one of ten playoff spots spanning 60 regular season games, with the top 6 teams guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals. Talented NHL players such as Teemu Selanne, Mikko Koivu, and Saku Koivu were all products of the Finnish league.
- Czech Extraliga
Ranked third strongest league in Europe by the IIHF, The Czech Extraliga (Tipsport Extraliga) is one of the most competitive leagues anywhere in the world. It was founded in 1993 following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the Czech’s have much to be proud of in terms of the talent that they have contributed to the NHL. Currently, there are over 50 players from the Czech Republic plying their trade in the NHL making it obvious that the Extraliga has a knack for developing all-round and talented hockey players.
The Czech Extraliga is comprised of 14 teams with only the top 6 advancing to the playoffs. However, it has an interesting twist in that teams from number 7 through to 10 compete against each other for a chance to advance to the quarters against one of the top 6. As for teams that finish from 11th to 14th, these are forced to compete against each other with the team that loses the group facing the top team from the first league.