Since its creation in 1875, ice hockey has taken the world by storm. While it isn’t necessarily played in every single country, it is, at the very least, very well-known; it’s even a winter Olympic sport. Because of its worldwide popularity, there have been thousands (if not more) that have taken to the ice rink to show their skills; of those thousands, as is the case with any other sport, only the greats stand out. Only the ones with the speed, quick wit, agility and pure skill can rise above the rest and assert their dominance in the rink.Since I am an avid lover of the sport, I figured I would compile a list of just a few of the world’s greatest ice hockey players.

Wayne Gretzky

Gretzky is probably one of the more famous players to have ever picked up a hockey stick. When people think of ice hockey they tend to think of Gretzky, and with good reason. Throughout his 20 years in the league Gretzky has earned a plethora of accolades, including: being the NHL all-time scorer of points and goals with 2,857 and 894, respectively; winning 10 NHL scoring championships and has the distinction of earning over 200 points during four separate seasons. These are incredibly difficult stats to achieve. There’s a reason why he’s dubbed, “The Great One.”

Mario Lemieux

An incredibly gifted hockey player from a young age, Mario Lemieux has impressed hockey fans and players alike with his innate skills. Imagine scoring during your first game ever on a breakaway after stealing the puck from an NHL Hall of Fame legend like Ray Bourque. That’s what Mario Lemieux did. He also has the honor of being the only NHL player to score five different goals in five different ways in one single game; a very specific achievement, but an achievement nonetheless. 

Maurice “Rocket” Richard

You know you’ve made it when you have an award named after you that embodies your entire game-playing philosophy. Rocket’s NHL regular-season goal-scoring award is rightfully named after Rocket, and is one of the most sought-after awards in the league. Other notable achievements for Rocket include being the first to score 50 goals in a single season and the first to reach over 500 goals in his career.