Ranking the 50 Most Influential People in NHL History

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Ranking the 50 Most Influential People in NHL History
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Maurice Richard was born in Montreal and died in Montreal. The same goes for Conn Smythe in Toronto.

Both men made no secret of their love for their respective cities, devoting the better part of their lives and careers to establishing, emboldening and elevating the tradition of Canada’s two NHL Original Six franchises.

The majority of the other key figures in the NHL’s 85-year history have had to make more rounds around the league to make their impact. That travel and relocation, however, is often crucial to one’s impact, as players and executives have served to spread a stable interest in the sport.

Franchise founders, barrier breakers and title tycoons constitute much of the league’s historic pantheon of influence.

Ditto to those players and promoters who invented or reinvented equipment and tactics, who spawned, sustained or revived interest in a given franchise or market or who changed perceptions of any aspect of the game.

The 50 figures that have demonstrated the most sway on the sport and hold at least partial responsibility for a still-existing element or legacy in the NHL are as follows.

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