Gordie and Colleen Howe carry the Olympic Flame during the 2002 Salt Lake City torch relay. (Todd Warshaw/Pool/Getty Images)
Most, if not all, professional hockey players are in love with the game. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room in their lives for another love. Who are the greatest famous hockey couples of all-time? That’s the focus of this week’s Top 10.
Honorable mentions: Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert; Mike Modano and Willa Ford; Sheldon Souray and Kelly Kelly; Cale Hulse and Gena Lee Nolin.
10. Valeri Bure and Candace Cameron
The retired right winger, who spent a decade in the NHL, and the former star of Full House have been married for more than 15 years, which can be an eternity for pro athlete marriages. But although they’re both relatively removed from the public eye, they’re as strong as ever, as indicated by the Bure Family Wines business founded in 2007.
9. Bret Hedican and Kristi Yamaguchi
Hedican won a Stanley Cup in Carolina during his 17-year NHL career. Yamaguchi won an Olympic gold medal in figure skating in 1992 and won the sixth season of Dancing With The Stars. If they ever entered Battle of the Blades, they’d win running (or skating) away.
8. Mike Comrie and Hilary Duff
Comrie retired from the NHL on Monday and no doubt is looking forward to spending more time with his singer/actress wife, whom he married in 2010. The couple are expecting their first child just about any day now.
7. Sergei Fedorov and Anna Kournikova
In 2003, The Hockey News was the first to reveal the secret, short-lived marriage between the long-time Red Wings center and the tennis superstar. He is now captaining Metallurg of the Kontinental League, while she has been with singer Enrique Iglesias for nearly a decade.
6. Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood
Fisher began dating American Idol superstar Underwood while still playing for the Ottawa Senators and the pair married in 2010. When Fisher was dealt to Nashville last season, the match became even more perfect, what with Underwood’s near-godlike status in the country music community.
5. Alexei Yashin and Carol Alt
American supermodel Alt was once married to another hockey star (longtime Ranger Ron Greschner), but after the duo divorced, she fell in love with Islanders mainstay Alexei Yashin and the couple have been together for 12 years.
4. Ray Ferarro and Cammi Granato
Easily the duo with the most hockey talent on this list, the former NHLer (and current TSN analyst) and women’s hockey legend were married in 2004. They have two young sons, Riley and Reese, both of whom should be considered odds-on favorites for NHL careers when they come of age.
3. Don and Rose Cherry
The legendary coach and his wife arguably were Canada’s most famous couple until her death in 1997. Don Cherry founded Rose Cherry’s Home For Kids (since renamed Darling Home For Kids) in Milton, Ont., to help care for seriously ill children. You can still honor her memory by donating here.
2. Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones
When the game’s biggest name married the Hollywood actress in Edmonton in 1988, the news coverage was something you’d expect to see for a royal wedding. In the hockey world, that’s exactly what it was – and the still-married pair have produced five kids, including budding baseball star Trevor, who signed with the Chicago Cubs last summer.
1. Gordie and Colleen Howe
If the measure of a love affair is how well a couple cares for one another in the tough times of their marriage, the Howes have shown us all how it’s done. Not only did they raise a hockey-playing brood that included Hall-of-Famer Mark Howe and WHA/NHL veteran Marty Howe, but when Colleen was stricken with the debilitating Pick’s Disease in 2002, Gordie looked after her until she passed away in 2009 at age 76. As phenomenal a player as Gordie was, he was a Hall of Fame husband, too.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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