Gordie Howe highlighted the list of 33 legends from the first 50 years in NHL history as the league began its unveiling of the 100 greatest players of all-time to kick off the 100th anniversary celebrations.
With the calendar officially turning over to 2017, the NHL has begun the celebration of its centennial season, which will be highlighted Sunday by the Centennial Classic outdoor bout between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Over the course of the next year, the league will celebrate the milestone anniversary in a number of ways, from signature contests to league-wide events and the visual representation of the 100th season can already be seen as each team dons a commemorative patch for the duration of 2017. But of all the events and celebrations the league has planned for the next year, one that fans have been looking forward to most is the official unveiling of the 100 greatest players to ever suit up in the league.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, the NHL unveiled the first 33 players on their list of the 100 greatest of all-time, all of whom came from the league’s first 50 years. The list includes absolutely legendary players such as Jean Beliveau, Ted Lindsay, Dickie Moore and Terry Sawchuk, and while the entires aren’t numbered, it’s not hard to pick the standout name from the list with Gordie Howe making his way into the first group of unveilings.
According to the NHL, the selections were made by a 58-member Blue Ribbon Panel. The panel was eligible to select any player from the league’s history to make the list, each member was provided with a biography for each retired player who’s a member of the Hall of Fame, has scored at least 500 goals — or 350 with a Hart Trophy win — or won 400-plus games. In addition, bios were given for all active players who had either 400 goals, 600 assists, 900 points or had won an individual award in more than one season, as well as Vezina Trophy winners with more than 300 wins.
Included in the panel were the likes of legendary coach Scott Bowman, former players-turned-broadcasters such as Ray Ferraro, Patrick Lalime and Cassie Campbell-Pascall and notable broadcasters such as Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Harry Neale and Jim Hughson.
The final 67 players will be announced on Jan. 27 as part of the all-star weekend in Los Angeles.
Find the complete list of the first 33 players below, via the NHL:
In alphabetical order: Sid Abel, Syl Apps, Andy Bathgate, Jean Beliveau, Max Bentley, Toe Blake, Johnny Bower, Turk Broda, Johnny Bucyk, King Clancy, Charlie Conacher, Alex Delvecchio, Bill Durnan, Bernie Geoffrion, Glenn Hall, Doug Harvey, Tim Horton, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly, Ted Kennedy, Dave Keon, Elmer Lach, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore, Howie Morenz, Jacques Plante, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk, Milt Schmidt, Eddie Shore, Georges Vezina.
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