My personal hockey memory bank doesn't go too far past the 1980s when it comes to talking about the most hated players from each decade in the NHL. The era of hockey that I have seen made it very difficult to select individuals as there were plenty of qualified candidates that could just as easily topped the list.
Qualities that a hated player must have include cowardice, speaking boldly behind the safety of a microphone (or larger teammate), and a relentless desire to put themselves before the team. Star players find their way on these lists from time to time.
With the success enjoyed by some of these players listed, it's easy to hate them without ever acknowledging the value they have to their own team and ultimately the game of hockey.
Here is my list of the most hated NHL players. I've thrown in some "honorable mention" participation ribbons with the modern decades to give mention to some players who brought irritation but not quite the "hate" required to make the list.