NHL History: The Most Unlikely Birthplaces of Hockey Players

North America, Canada particularly, has actually been the informal house to hockey for over a century, producing the modern-day video game as we understand it today and the huge bulk of gamers who have actually played it.

Modern-day hockey is believed to have actually come from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia in the 1850s or 60s, with wood pucks and hand-made, one-piece sticks, hockey skates, and objectives with webs. The sport infect New Brunswick in 1865 and Montreal in 1875. Ice hockey spread gradually and systematically, province by province, till it showed up on the West Coast around 1890.

Professionally, the sport was played solely in Canada start in 1909 with the four-team National Hockey Association (NHA). The National Hockey League (NHL) was established not long after, in 1917, and with it came the very first non-Canadian expert hockey gamer. Pierce George “Gerry” Geran, an American born in Massachusetts, appeared in 4 video games with the Montreal Wanderers in the NHL’s inaugural season.

Ten Different Nations

The globalization of the sport of hockey started at some point after World War 2, however it wasn’t till 1965 that any gamer from outdoors North America got into the league. That gamer was Sweden-born Ulf Sterner, who ended up being the very first Europen to play in the NHL. While Sterner didn’t set the league on fire, he did lead the way for Swedish defenseman Borje Salming, who played 17 seasons in the NHL and taped 787 points, which stays a record for an undrafted defenseman to this day.

After the fall of Communism, gamers from Eastern European nations, such as previous Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, signed up with the league.

According to STATISTA, since November 2022, the nation with the greatest variety of active NHL gamers was Canada, with 993 active NHL gamers. Meanwhile, the United States noted 586 active NHL gamers in 2022, and Sweden reported 225. Ten countries are represented up and down the league’s rank, consisting of in order after Sweden, Russia (128), Finland (111), Czechia (92), Slovakia (26), Switzerland (26), Germany (24), and Denmark (17).

Five Continents

To date, the NHL has actually seen gamers from 5 various continents, some countries where hockey is barely played. Here is a list of active and previous gamers born in nations where ice and hockey are abnormalities.

Craig Adams, Seria, Brunei

Adams was picked in the 9th round, 223rd in general, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Hartford Whalers, where he got the difference of being their last draft choice. Adams was born in Seria, Brunei, in southeast Asia, while his daddy was on service with Shell Oil. However, he was raised in Calgary, Alberta, living and playing hockey in the neighborhood of Lake Bonavista. Adams played college hockey at Harvard University and in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Olaf Kolzig, Johannesburg, South Africa

The longtime Washington Capitals goalie, “Ollie, the Goalie,” was born to German moms and dads in South Africa’s capital, Johannesburg. Coverage of hockey and the NHL in South Africa doesn’t exist, had Kolzig not invested his developmental years maturing in Canada, the league would never ever have actually been blessed with his skills. Except for 8 video games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in his last season, he played his whole NHL profession with Washington, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2000.

Rod Langway, Taipei, Taiwan

Langway is the only NHL gamer born in the Republic of China. His daddy was an American serviceman stationed in Taiwan at birth, however Langway matured in Randolph, Massachusetts. Langway was prepared by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977, winning a Stanley Cup with them in 1979. He is typically credited as conserving the Washington Capitals after being traded to the group prior to the 1982-83 season. Langway won back-to-back Norris Trophies in 1982-83 and 1983-84. He’s among simply 16 Americans inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and his #5 jersey was retired by the Washington Capitals on November 26, 1997.

Robyn Regehr, Recife, Brazil

The Brazilian-born Canadian defenceman Robyn Regehr was the first-round draft choice of the Colorado Avalanche in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Calgary Flames prior to beginning his expert profession, where he played the very first 11 years prior to being traded to the Buffalo Sabres. In 2013-14 he won a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings. Despite just playing in the preliminary prior to being sidelined with a knee injury. Kings group captain Dustin Brown completed his champion triumph lap by handing the Stanley Cup to Regehr, thanking the veteran for his off-ice existence.

Robyn’s bro Richie Regehr likewise played briefly in the NHL for the Calgary Flames. The older of the 2 Regehr siblings was born in Bandung, Indonesia.

Rick Chartraw, Caracas, Venezuela

Chartraw played in 420 NHL video games in between 1974 and 1984. Selected tenth in general in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, by the Montreal Canadians, he holds the difference of being the very first American prepared in the preliminary. Chartraw was born in Caracas, Venezuela, when his American daddy was used as an oil engineer. When Rick was 3, his household returned to the United States, and he matured in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Other Players

Chris Neilsen played 52 NHL video games for Columbus from 2000 to 2002 and was born to Canadian diplomat moms and dads in Tanzania.

Former NHL enforcer Rumun Ndur bet the Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, and Atlanta Thrashers. he was born in Zaria, Nigeria however matured in rural Hearst, Ontario, Canada.

Claude Vilgrain bet the Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, and Philadelphia Flyers. Vilgrain was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti however raised in Quebec City.

Ed Hatoum was born in Lebanon’s capital in 1947 and emigrated with his household to Ottawa when he was simply ten years old. He played 47 NHL video games for the Detroit Red Wings and Canucks.


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