Throughout the NHL's storied history, a select group of players have been called upon to hold a very special honor: wearing the captain's "C" on the chest of their jersey.
These players have a big responsibility. They need to set a good example for their teammates on and off the ice, act as a motivator, mentor younger players and represent their team in the community. They also need to talk to the referees about decisions during certain parts of the game.
When a player is named captain, it is a chance to change his legacy with his team and the league, for better or for worse.
The 25 players in this slideshow are some of the greatest leaders to ever play the game. They have won division titles and Stanley Cup championships, taken home individual trophies and had their numbers raised to the rafters.
There are many great players featured here, so ranking was no easy feat. I decided to do this slideshow by taking into account what these players accomplished when they were captain rather than looking at their entire career. I also considered championships won and other contributions to their teams, as well as international play.
Most of the players on this list are retired, but a few are still playing today.
Here are the 25 best leaders in NHL history.