Considering the international flavor of the NHL, there is no other sports league in the world that can boast some of the most interesting and phonetically challenging names. With the melting pot of the United States and Canada, there have been literally hundreds of players with names that gave us pause.
Some players like Robin Big Snake, Wacey Rabbitt or Bear Trapp have a distinct native-North American flavor. Though they never got to skate in the NHL, their names alone would have been legendary.
The Eastern Europe and Russian influx of the late 1980's brought an assortment of players to the NHL. Never short on excessive consonants and syllables, players like Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Sergei Krivokrasov and Valeri Zelepukin were an announcer's or spell-checker's nightmare.
Fun to watch but hard to say could be the take from a casual observer who only knows that hockey's Michael Jordan had a last name that ended in "-tzky". To me, it's another part of the sport that makes the game great. The names are almost as unique as the personalities that wear them on their backs.
The inherent toughness that is associated with the NHL can often be contradictory when you hear a players name. For every tough guy named Garth Butcher or Tony Twist there is a Jody Shelley or a Jordin Tootoo. You wouldn't want to tangle with any of those guys, but Shelley and Tootoo might have a little more of a chip on their shoulder to defend the name on their back.
The following list of names is hardly a list of goons that have played in the NHL, but they are still hockey players and still pretty tough customers. They also have the good fortune of a name that elicits a certain response or reaction that does not typically include fear and trepidation.
There are quite literally dozens and dozens more, but these are my favorites. Feel free to add yours in the comments section below. Enjoy now!