When you think of manly sports, hockey has to be at the top of the list. What other sport is there that allows bare-knuckle boxing in the middle of a game with no legal repercussions? Over the course of NHL history, there have been some extremely manly players to make their way through the league, but these five brawny dudes stand out as the manliest.
Many say that if it weren’t for Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe would be considered the unanimous choice for the best hockey player of all time. In Detroit, Howe is a legend after having spent a quarter century with the Red Wings. The bridge to Canada is named after him, and there’s even a “hat trick” named in his honor, and it’s the manliest thing you might hear today.
A Gordie Howe hat trick is when a player collects a goal and an assist, while also getting into a fight all in the same game. Howe did this for the first time in 1953, and once more the following season. Howe played professional hockey until he was in his 50s, showing just how macho he was, even in his advanced age. Howe passed away in 2016, but not before leaving an amazing legacy in hockey.
Tim Horton might be known as the namesake for the massive chain of coffee and donut joints around North America, but Horton himself was a tremendous and manly NHL player for 24 seasons. Horton played for four franchises, most notably with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1952 until 1970.
Horton was an absolute brute as a hockey player, showing off the type of muscle that you envision when thinking of a Canadian lumberjack. It was unfortunate how Horton met his demise at 44 years old, but his legacy still lives on in the form of some small donuts and what was some of the best coffee in the world during his life.
If you look at Howie Morenz, he looks less like a guy who would play hockey and more like a guy that would bust your kneecaps for not paying him back in time. Morenz was a native of Mitchell, Ontario, and one of the greatest players of his generation. He was a gambling man that could also play the ukulele and had three kids by the time he was 31 years old.
Morenz was known for his blazing speed on the ice and popped right back up after taking a high-speed collision. Unfortunately for Morenz, his speed was what would ultimately be his undoing. In a game against Chicago, Morenz was going after a loose puck when he lost his balance and broke his leg when crashing into the ice. He was then in his hospital room and didn’t want help to use the restroom, so he tried to walk on his broken leg, leading to a coronary embolism.
Forget the manliest hockey players of all time, Lanny McDonald looks like one of the manliest people in human history. McDonald rocked a huge mustache during his playing days, and that didn’t change after he retired. The only thing that changed is the color as his mustache went from red to white.
McDonald was a hell of a player on top of having a hall of fame mustache, too, as he also made the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992. During his career, McDonald put up 500 goals and over 500 assists, and even took home the 1983 Bill Masterton Award. The award is handed out to the NHL player who “exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication” to the league, and that sounds pretty manly.
One of the best enforcers in NHL history, Ryan Reaves has played with several teams throughout his NHL career and is known for fighting the other team’s biggest and toughest player when things get dicey. Heck, he’s even starred in commercials where he enforces Las Vegas residents to not use too much water.
Reaves has been a beloved teammate everywhere he’s played because he’s not afraid to finish fights that get started. Essentially, he’s like the big brother of every franchise that he’s played for.