NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sean Avery and the 10 Most Political Players in NHL History

April WeinerCorrespondent IMay 17, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: Sean Avery and the 10 Most Political Players in NHL History

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 06:  Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates a goal that was called back against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on March 6, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Sean Avery made news last week when the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality PSA that he contributed to was released.

    Avery's participation in a political issue led to discussion and even some criticism of his participation.

    Perhaps that, discussion and criticism, is why more NHL players don't publicize their views on political views.

    However, Avery isn't the first NHL player involved in politics.

    Here are the top 10 most political players in NHL history.

10. Mike Richter

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20:  Former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter watches the Rangers play against the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Mike Richter was the New York Rangers' goaltender from 1989 to 2003, helping the team to their 1994 Stanley Cup win.

    Following retirement, Richter went to Yale University as part of the non-traditional students admissions program. Richter pursued a degree in Ethics, Politics and Economics.

    He considered running for U.S. Congress to represent Connecticut's 4th District as a Democrat in the 2008 election. 

    He then decided against it, but is still keeping the idea of running for political office in mind for the future.

9. Brian Propp

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    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 2:  (L-R) Philadelphia Flyers radio broadcasters Brian Propp (color analyst) and Tim Saunders (play by play announcer) pose for a photo before the game against the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on March 2, 2006 in Philadelph
    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    Brian Propp was a forward in the NHL for 15 seasons, playing from 1979 to 1994. Propp played for the Hartford Whalers, Minnesota North Stars, Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.

    Following his retirement from hockey, Propp spent seven years as a broadcaster for the Flyers from 2001 to 2008. 

    In 2007, Propp ran for the New Jersey Assembly as a Republican, but lost.

    He currently works as a VP of Strategic Accounts for The Judge Group, a corporate consulting firm. Perhaps after more time in the corporate world, Propp will make another run for political office.

8. Frank Mahovlich

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    MONTREAL- DECEMBER 4:  Former Montreal Canadien Frank Mahovlich skates during the Centennial Celebration ceremonies prior to the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins on December 4, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Frank Mahovlich was an NHL and WHA forward from 1957 to 1979. In the NHL, he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.

    He played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

    After his successful hockey career, Mahovlich went into politics. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1998, where he remains today. 

    He is a member of the Liberal Party.

7. Thomas Steen

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    Swede Thomas Steen played for the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL from 1981 to 1995. After retiring from the NHL in '95, Steen returned to Europe to play for another three years.

    He returned to Winnipeg as a hockey scout.

    In 2007, Steen expressed interest in a political career. Steen first ran for political office in Winnipeg as a member of the Conservative Party in 2008. He lost that election.

    He was elected to Winnipeg city council during his second election attempt in 2010, representing the ward of Elmwood-East Kildonan. 

6. Syl Apps

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    Syl Apps was a man of many talents. He was a Canadian pole vaulter, a hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1936 to '48 and a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament as a Progressive Conservative.

    He first ran for office while still playing hockey. Apps ran for Parliament in 1940, but lost the election.

    In 1963, Apps was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, a post he served until 1975. From 1971 to '74, Apps served as the Minister of Correctional Services.

5. Peter Stastny

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    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 08:  Peter Stastny #26 skates at the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Game at the Air Canada Centre on November 8, 2009 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Peter Stastny defected from Soviet Czechoslovakia in 1980 to pursue a hockey career in Canada.

    Stastny was an NHL forward from 1980 to 1995. He played for the Quebec Nordiques, New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues.

    Following his hockey career, Stastny returned to Slovakia to pursue a political career. He joined the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-Democratic Party, interested in becoming part of the European Parliament.

    Stastny has remained outspoken about hockey-related things.

    For instance, his criticism and calling for the resignation of the president of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, as well as his criticism of a Colorado Avalanche trade (his son, Paul, of course being a member of the team).

4. Red Kelly

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    Red Kelly spent 20 seasons in the NHL from 1947 to 1967. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. As part of those teams, Kelly won eight Stanley Cup championships.

    While playing for the Maple Leafs, Kelly spent three years in the Canadian House of Commons.

    Kelly was elected in 1962 and was re-elected the next year. He served as a member of the Liberal Party.

    After his second term was up, Kelly left politics and did not return.

3. Ken Dryden

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    MONTREAL- DECEMBER 4:  Former Montreal Canadien Ken Dryden skates during the Centennial Celebration ceremonies prior to the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins on December 4, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Ken Dryden was a Hall of Fame goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens from 1971 to 1979.

    As a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Dryden ran for a seat in the House of Commons in June 2004. After being elected, Dryden was named to Cabinet as Minister of Social Development.

    Dryden just lost his seat in the 2011 Canadian election.

    He then ran for the Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was thought to have considerable clout due to his former career in the NHL; however, he was eliminated after coming in fifth, then dead last in the election and run-over election.

2. Georges Laraque

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    MONTREAL- OCTOBER 17:  Georges Laraque #17 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on October 17, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Senators defeated the Canadiens 3-1.  (Photo by Richard Wo
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Georges Laraque played 14 seasons in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens.

    His contract was bought out in 2010 and Laraque began to pursue a different career path.

    Last February, Laraque joined the Green Party of Canada. Last July, he was named the deputy leader of the party.

    Laraque's role is to help expand support of the Green Party in the province of Quebec.

1. Sean Avery

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    Like the names preceding him, Sean Avery may one day throw his hat into the ring and run for public office.

    However, for now, his foray into political activeness seems to only be to support and bring attention to a cause he believes in.

    It’s not often I commend something Sean Avery does, but in this instance he should be commended for taking a stance on an issue he feels strongly about.

    What Avery did was courageous. The issue of homosexuality in sports, hockey in particular, has been a divisive issue.

    It was courageous for him to voice an opinion while he is still playing the game and susceptible to chirps from opposing players or even potentially his teammates.

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