Who are the greatest all-time Olympic hockey players for each of the nations competing in the upcoming games in Sochi? Examining only their performances at the Winter Games (or the Summer Games, where hockey was first held in 1920), we can identify which single player made the most meaningful contributions overall on a country-by-country basis.
Given the changes to the sport, the rules, and the skills of the various nations, one of the biggest challenges is comparing players from one era to those of another.
And because the events are typically held four years apart, some great players never earned the right to more than one appearance, especially among those on the most dominant teams. That results in having to compare players with amazing single-tournament achievements to players with merely solid results spread out over several competitions.
Though it is often a matter of opinion, some players nevertheless do bubble to the top.
What follows is my take on who is the best Olympic player in each nation's history. We begin in alphabetical order with Austria on the next slide.
All Olympic statistics sourced from Elite Prospects, unless otherwise noted.