Of course, there are huge rivalries between the biggest NHL fans. However, there are opponents even the most dedicated fans love. So that’s exactly what we’ll look into today.
Some NHL players have achieved a cult-like status in the sport. No matter their team, these players grab the attention of every NHL fan. These players are well-loved in the community for many reasons, from incredible sportsmanship to raw talent.
Their raw skills, incredible fan bases and even the capability to overcome an illness are the main factors players love and bet on these players’ teams.
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Let’s see which players made the cut:
1. Dominic Moore
Moore may not be the best player around, but his dedication on the rink is unlike any other NHL player. The forward played in nine teams throughout his career, giving his heart and soul to all of them.
Dominic Moore’s life in the NHL was always somewhat rough. In 2004, his brother Steve was attacked during a game of the Vancouver Canucks versus the Colorado Avalanche, ending up with a concussion and three fractured vertebrae. Moore was always extremely supportive of his brother and even took part in the extensive legal battles that ended in 2014.
In 2013, Moore faced yet another challenge. That year, his wife passed away from liver cancer, which led him to quit for the season. In the next season, the player was back in the rink again, to the delight of the biggest NHL fans.
Dominic Moore’s resilience, hard work and dedication have earned him the love of fans all around the globe and the Bill Masterton award.
2. Steven Stamkos
Stamkos is becoming one of the best NHL goal scorers of all-time, often compared with Mike Bossy and Rocket Richard. Capable of shifting the odds in his team’s favour, Steven Stamkos is a machine inside the stadium.
The best part about this player is how humble he remains despite his fame. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain shows incredible dedication and a very positive personality, making him well-beloved by all NHL fans.
Stamkos has managed to grab three international medals – the 2008 Junior Championship gold medal, 2009 World Cup silver medal, and the 2016 World Cup gold medal.
3. Andrew Ference
When we think of Andrew Ference, respect is the first word that comes to mind. In fact, the Edmonton Oilers captain was selected for the role even before he set off in the rink. This goes on to show his incredible leadership and respect from fellow players.
Ference is also loved for his charitable work. In 2013 alone, the defenseman promoted green campaigns in Edmonton, donated funds to anti-bullying and homeless organisations, gave toys to the local children’s hospital, and created the November Project.
It’s easy to see why this player was worthy of the 2013/2014 King Clancy Trophy right before his retirement.
4. Josh Harding
Josh Harding is the biggest example of dedication to the sport. Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, Harding kept working on his career until 2014.
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease known to affect balance, vision, and coordination. Even with his condition, the goaltender went on to earn the 2013 Bill Masterton Trophy and finished the season with an astounding 18-7 record and a 0.933 save percentage.
On top of these statistics, Harding is also a two-time silver medalist in the World Championships, both in 2004 and 2009. Even though he retired in 2015, Harding will always be loved by NHL fans.
5. Jonathan Toews
Jonathan Toews is all about commitment and focus. These traits have earned him the “Captain Serious” nickname at an early age.
Toews’ award portfolio is nothing short of impressive: two Olympic golds, two-time World Junior Championships gold medalists, and two Stanley Cups. In total, we’re talking about seven gold medals in international competitions.
On an individual level, the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks is known for his impressive achievements, including being the third-youngest captain ever and the second-youngest winner of the Conn Smythe and Selke Trophies.
Even though they’re beloved for different reasons, you can’t deny these players had an impact in the game, both inside and outside the rink. From sheer raw performance to hearts of gold, these legends show the NHL is a sport that knows no boundaries.