Category Archives: Calgary Flames Shirts

Derek Ryan Jersey

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Obviously, I am a big hockey fan. But I try my very best not to be an annoying hockey fan.

Which is why when I met Derek Ryan for the first time, I tried not to talk about hockey. I told myself, surely he doesn’t want to talk about the Calgary Flames all the time. Surely it’s annoying when people only see the hockey player and are not interested in talking about anything else.

Despite the fact that I have been writing about the Flames for a while now, I waited more than a full year before asking him to do an interview. My wife was a bit more courageous, asking him to sign my jersey as a birthday surprise to me not long after he moved here. Which he did. That’s how I came to own a Robyn Regehr jersey with a Ryan signature.

When I finally did ask for an interview, he was very gracious about it. He made time to talk at his house on one of his off nights during that long five-day break in the schedule. His corgi, Bronx, sat under my chair while we chatted.

Ryan says Bronx got his name because of his stout figure and feisty personality, just like the New York City borough. Plus, his fur pattern makes him look like he’s wearing hipster glasses.

I was surprised at how easy Ryan was to talk to. Obviously he’s used to doing interviews just like all players are, so I knew it would be easy for him. But I didn’t know it would be this easy for me. He is approachable and laid back. I can attest that he’s one of the good guys.

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DALLAS — Five hundred games in the professional-hockey biz.

Calgary Flames sparkplug Zac Rinaldo might be the only person who believed that milestone was within reach.

“Tonight? No sh–?” Rinaldo replied when informed he would hit that nice round number in Sunday’s road date against the Dallas Stars — a combination of 357 appearances in the NHL and 143 more in the minors. “See, I don’t even look at that stuff. But that’s a really, really nice accomplishment. I wasn’t even supposed to get one game, never mind 500. So 500 pro games, it’s an honour to be a part of.

“I’m not supposed to be here right now,” he added. “Not many players like myself who were drafted in the sixth round for their toughness stick around this long, especially in this day and age where the game is changing every day and every year.

“So I’ve had a lot of doubters throughout my whole career and a lot of people that didn’t believe in me. This game is for them, I guess.”

Tobias Rieder Jersey

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Calgary Flames fans went home happy Thursday night, following a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

But a Flames fan by the name of Cindy drove home just a bit happier.

See also:
Fans react to Lucic finally scoring his first goal with the Flames

Tobias Rieder’s second-period goal was scored during the Flames’ “Minute to Win It” promotion, winning a 2019 Chevrolet Malibu for Cindy.

Cindy’s window to win occurred for 60 seconds after a TV timeout in the second period. As if that wasn’t improbable enough, the entirety of her minute window would occur shorthanded, thanks to a Johnny Gaudreau hooking penalty.

No matter for Rieder, who scored on a shorthanded breakaway.

Milan Lucic Jersey

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Milan Lucic says he’s more interested in the main event points race in the first Edmonton-Calgary meeting which comes halfway through the season, than the individual undercard: the goal battle with James Neal

But, they’re both good stories.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Edmonton but more so I’m looking at what the game means in the standings,” said Lucic, who spent three years in Edmonton and was traded this past summer to the Flames for Neal, two players spinning their wheels. “It’s a rivalry game but it’s also a competitive game.”

Arizona and Vegas are tied for top in the Pacific with 46 points. Calgary and Edmonton have 44. Vancouver has 42. It’s the 41st game for the Oilers on Friday night, the 40th for the Flames.

“As you know when I was in Boston and played Montreal, those games were also very competitive games and we played each other four times and that ramped up the rivalry,” said Lucic.

“This division is tight … if you lose two games, you’re almost out of a playoff spot, and if you win two or three, you’re back in the mix. Vegas, Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, all five of us are battling for maybe four (playoff spots).”

Lucic says having Calgary and Edmonton playing first at the halfway point is strange stuff. The Oilers are finished with Vancouver, playing four times, but haven’t seen their main rival.

“It is kind of odd but when I played in LA we didn’t play Anaheim for the first time until January,” said Lucic. “With the Oilers I think we play four times in the next six weeks, though. We’re going to get to know each other well.”

The dichotomy between Lucic and Neal is hard to ignore. Neal has 16 goals, in the first month he was the NHL’s hottest player. Lucic has three goals in 50 shots and eight points this year, but nobody’s complaining because he’s keeping the flies away from Johnny Gaudreau. He skates hard, provides fuel to the fire and he’s a fan favourite in Calgary.

If Neal scores at least 21 goals and the difference between the two at least 10 goals, the Oilers give Calgary a third-round draft pick. But that’s for the rival GM’s to consider.

“I’ve maybe only watched five Oiler games this year, but you always pay attention to the guy you’re traded for. I won’t lie to you there,” said Lucic. “At the start it was like ‘Holy Smokes, he’s really doing well and nothing much is going for me’ but I’ve moved on from that.

“I’m not the type of guy who wishes bad on others. If the other guy is playing well and you’re not, you create negative energy and you drive yourself crazy. You turn it into a pity party for yourself. It’s not a healthy way to live. I’ve never been like that. If somebody’s doing well whether you like or hate the guy or got traded for him, I believe in the ‘he’s doing well, good for him.’ Just go about your own business.”

Lucic seems to have found a regular line with Derek Ryan and Dillon Dube. They’ve been together for 10 to 12 games.

“If you look at goals and assists you can say it’s not going well, but I’m playing better, more to the way I can play, in the O-zone, creating scoring chances, providing energy. The way the last 15 games have gone, I could easily be at the 10-goal mark but it hasn’t gone in for me,” he said.

Lucic had 23 goals in 175 shots (13.1 shooting percentage) his first Oilers season after they signed him as a free-agent in 2016, but couldn’t find the net the next two with 10 and six goals when his shooting percentage was 6.8 and 8.1.

Even with his troubles, the fans refused to get on him.

“The Edmonton fans were good to me from start to finish and I appreciated that. Even when times were tough they never turned on me, they never booed me, which I was appreciative of,” he said.

Lucic hasn’t had a lot of angry games in the Battle of Alberta. There was the Lucic scuffle around the crease with then Flames goalie Mike Smith in Calgary.

“The first time we played them last season they (Flames) were going after Connor (McDavid) and I had a big hit on Gio (Flames captain Mark Giordano), too. That was a pretty ramped up game,” said Lucic. “That’s why I’m excited about this one (Tuesday). We know what this game means in the standings.”

It will be strange for Lucic to be going against McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“The first time I did it was my year in LA and it was Connor’s first season and Leon’s second. Seeing how good they were was a big reason why I decided to come to Edmonton. I saw how good Connor was as an 18-year-old,” he said. “I’m very interested to see how good they’ve gotten because when you play with guys you appreciate how good they are but when you play against them you see how hard it it.”

Mark Jankowski Jersey

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Let’s be honest: this isn’t exactly how anyone thought Mark Jankowski’s 2019-20 season would go. The 25 year old centre played in a career high 79 games, set career high’s in assists (18), points (32) and he led the NHL in SHG with 5 in 2018-19 and things were looking up. Janko is in the final year of a two year contract and things aren’t going so well. He’s found himself a healthy scratch. He has no goals. He has no assists. Zero.Point.Zero. No bueno Mr. Jankowski.

Janko has always been fairly streaky, especially when you look at last season. He had three streaks of 12+ games without a goal, but this is pretty crazy. He’s now gone 26 games without ANYTHING to show for his efforts. And part of it is shots. Through 26 games last season Jankowski had 31 SOG, leading to four goals and ten assists. So far this season he has 14 SOG leading to a big ole donut.

So, we want to know: will he ever score again? Vote in our poll below!

Johnny Gaudreau Jersey

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The Battle of Alberta finally gets underway for the 2019-20 season, and both teams are hungry for a win.

The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers reignite their decades-old rivalry in Edmonton on Friday, after each entered the short Christmas break with a loss on the road. The Flames were shut out 3-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Monday, while the Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Canucks in Vancouver.

Both teams are struggling to find the consistency they need to inch up the Western Conference standings.

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett had some harsh words for his crew following Monday’s loss.

“It’s the details of winning,” he said. “If you’re not willing to do them enough, you’re going to lose some games, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The Oilers held a 2-1 lead going into the third period with goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom, but gave up three unanswered goals to hand the victory to the Canucks.

It was Edmonton’s 13th game in 24 days, and Connor McDavid, the league’s top point-getter who was held to one assist in Monday’s affair, was looking forward to the few days off for Christmas.

“It’s been a tough stretch of games, honestly,” McDavid said. “Guys are tired, and this break comes at a good time.”

The Flames also needed the break, dropping four of their last five overall and finishing the stretch to the holiday with two games in two days on the road. They beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday, but couldn’t muster a single goal against the Wild.

Flames forward Derek Ryan got the puck behind Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, but video review determined he kicked it into the net.

“Everyone plays back-to-backs,” said Cam Talbot, the Flames goaltender who faced 33 shots overall and saw his record drop to 3-7-0 in 11 games this season. “If you’re not feeling it, try to make the easy play, the smart play and get it deep.”

But the Flames aren’t getting consistent production from some of their top guys, like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Gaudreau and Monahan combined for 181 points last season but are on pace for 124 this season.

“We were trying to generate offense,” defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano said. “It seemed like (the Wild’s) back pressure was really good, and we couldn’t get pucks through like we should. So we’ve got to work on that, generate more at their net. We’ll take our break here and go from there.”

The NHL’s best power play will be facing one of the top penalty kills.

The Oilers are 29.8 percent effective on the man advantage, while the Flames rank third at 84.8 percent in killing penalties. The Oilers aren’t too far behind on the PK at 83 percent, while the Flames are in the middle of the pack on the power play at 19.7 percent.

Special teams will only get you so far, though.

When asked recently about his team’s success on the power play, Klefbom told the Edmonton Journal the Oilers have to be better at even strength.

“Obviously our power play has been really effective, but you can’t expect to score every game that way,” Klefbom said. “It’s been our strength … we’re in the top (seven) in PP and PK, but to be a consistent playoff team, going against a heavy team like a St. Louis, Boston, they’re so good five-on-five.”

Klefbom and the Oilers will have the fans behind them on Friday. The Canadian provincial rivals split the season series last year, 2-2, and Calgary holds the all-time regular-season edge at 119-101-18.

–Field Level Media

T. J. Brodie Jersey

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Two weeks after collapsing on the ice during practice, Calgary Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie is back on the ice, capping his heroic return to hockey with a goal on Wednesday night.

Against the Buffalo Sabres — his second game since making his return — Brodie absolutely clapped one to open the scoring.

The 29-year-old suffered an apparent seizure on the ice and had to be taken off on a stretcher before being transported to hospital on November 14.

He managed to make a full recovery, allowing him to return to the ice and score his first goal of the season.

The Chatham, Ontario, native now has a goal to add to his eight assists through 23 games in 2019-20.

Rasmus Andersson Jersey

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As with most hockey rumours I catch wind of they typically initiate on the platform for chaos that is the depths of Leafs twitter. This week’s rendition saw Kasperi Kapanen come to CGY for Rasmus Andersson. At first instance I brushed it off, but then came the doozy of a new rumble that the Flames were looking to package up Dube, Andersson, and a first (In the best draft year since McDavids?!?!) for the rental of Taylor Hall. Such and absurd rumour has prompted me to come to the absolute defence of one of the Flames best defence, Rasmus Andersson.

A 2nd round pick acquired in the deal that sent Sven Beartschi to Vancouver, Andersson was quite the coin flip in development despite being a first team OHL all star the first year after being drafted. According to @Baderader’s NHLe model ( Andersson only yielded a 51% chance of being a regular NHL player when drafted, posting an NHLe score of 23.* His 3rd year after being drafted was where the first major step took place, earning AHL All-star honours and bumping his NHLe score to 32. The next season he would play the full year in Calgary and virtually cement himself as a solid piece for the foreseeable future.

*For those who don’t know NHLe stands for NHL equivalency and provides a score for what that players production would’ve looked like in NHL points compared to how many they actually scored in the league they were playing in. In Andersson’s case 64 points in 67 OHL games would’ve translated to 23 NHL points.

Fast forward to this year which has so far been less than ideal for a lot of reasons, but jumping to the conclusion of needing to trade our 23 year old right shot dman is a little drastic, especially when his numbers are actually quite good. Andersson has easily, far and away, the best corsi numbers on the D corps. Right now he boasts a 6.72 Avg. cd60 (Corsi differential per 60 minutes) which is 3.57 higher than our next best guy, Mark Giordano. This means that for every 60 minutes Andersson plays he sees 6.72 more chances going towards the offensive end of the rink. Very beneficial especially when you calculate those numbers came despite a 6 game losing streak and a 10-13-2 record.

This year he’s providing positive value across the board as evidenced by his current 0.3 WAR rating (from and a 1.7 GAR. (WAR is Wins above Replacement and GAR is Goals above replacement. Both values compare what a current player can provide when compared to a replacement level player. AKA positive numbers yield positive results) Razzmatazz sits 2nd and 3rd on the Flames D in those regards. Constantly competing with Giordano on a nightly basis to see who the Flames best Dman is going to be, which is no hard feat seeing as Gio has a bit of hardware in his trophy case now. Having him grow and excel, year after year is an excellent thing to watch, and very fun to see unfold on the ice.

While I know most of these rumours don’t initiate out of the Calgary fanbase, in the age of twitter things can gain traction fast. Im jumping in front of them now saying trading Rasmus Andersson would be a large mistake, and it’s no surprise why other teams armchair GM’s are targeting him as a potential want, but unless the return yields another young defender that can provide even more, I’m not interested, not even remotely.

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SYDNEY, N.S. —It may not have been a slapshot from the point like her father, but Lauren MacInnis has finally found the back of the net.

MacInnis, the daughter of Al MacInnis of Port Hood, scored her first career NCAA goal last Friday with a wrist shot from the point for the Northeastern Huskies in an 11-0 victory over the Holy Cross Crusaders.

MacInnis, who was born in St. Louis, would later score her second goal of the game, while picking up an assist as well, to finish the game with three points.

Northeastern is currently first overall in the Hockey East standings with an 11-2-0 record.

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Over 500 years ago, a group led by Menno Simons in Northern Germany created the Christian denomination of the Mennonites. They were persecuted for their pacifism and Protestant connections, which forced them to flee several European countries. Today, Mennonites live all over the world, though many are still in areas where their ancestors settled, and have developed a culture of their own. Many have similar surnames and can trace their lineages back several generations, and have a fondness for fried and preserved foods. Most of all, they have become known as hard-working, honest people who have a strong sense of community.

These traits (aside from the fried dough) have made Mennonites top-notch athletes. They generally aren’t the biggest stars, but they are highly respected by their teammates and are invaluable to their teams. In the NHL, several Mennonites have made their mark throughout history, from setting records to having their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. As hockey continues to grow internationally each year, let’s take a moment and look at the stars who seem to avoid the spotlight. These are the 10 best Mennonites in NHL history.
10. Ray Neufeld

A relatively unknown player today, Neufeld was a promising star in the 1980s. Born in the Mennonite community of Winkler, Manitoba, he played for the nearby Flin Flon Bombers in the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL – the precursor to the WHL) in 1976. His best season in the WCHL came in 1978-79 as a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings, when he scored an incredible 102 points despite missing part of the season with broken ribs. The Hockey News ranked him as 1979’s ninth best draft prospect, but he wasn’t drafted until the fourth round (81st overall) by the Hartford Whalers.

Neufeld joined the Whalers full-time in 1982-83 after bouncing between the AHL and NHL for three seasons. In his rookie season, he broke out with 28 goals and 59 points, finding chemistry with Ron Francis. The young forward was soon a fan favourite in Hartford, and he always gave back, regularly tossing pucks into the stands after pre-game skates and he was involved in several charities in the area. After he scored the Whalers’ 1000th goal, it looked like he would be with the franchise for good.

However, in 1985, after getting off to the hottest start of his career (15 points in 16 games), the Whalers traded him to the Winnipeg Jets for Dave Babych. The veteran defenseman was immensely popular in the Jets’ dressing room, making it a tough adjustment for Neufeld. Along with the pressure to perform, a slow start, and not wanting to leave Hartford, Neufeld struggled in his home province and never again got close to his career-high 69 points posted in 1983-84. He was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1988-89 and retired in 1990.
9. Eric Fehr

Also hailing from Winkler, Manitoba, Fehr starred with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Brandon Wheat Kings from 2000 to 2005, putting up 277 points in 279 games. His offensive acumen made him a first-round selection in 2003 by the Washington Capitals. In his last season of junior, he won the Bobby Clarke Trophy for most points (111) and the Four Broncos Trophy as the WHL’s player of the year. He joined the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Hersey Bears the following season, helping them win the Calder Cup, with eight goals and eleven points in the playoffs.
Sharks center Eric Fehr

In the NHL, however, Fehr was relied on for his defensive game, becoming a top penalty killer with the Capitals. His best offensive season was in 2010, when he scored 21 goals and 39 points. In 2015, he signed a three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins and was part of their 2016 Stanley Cup championship team, but injuries began to slow him down. He made brief appearances with the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild before joining the National League in Switzerland for the 2019-20 season.
8. James Reimer

The Arborg, Manitoba native began his professional career with the Toronto Marlies in 2008-09 after four seasons with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. A fourth-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 2006, he quickly became one of the brightest goaltending prospects in the system, winning the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with the South Carolina Sting Rays in 2008-09, as well as taking home the league’s playoff MVP award.

With the Maple Leafs, Reimer continued to shine, earning NHL Rookie of the Month in March, 2011. Although the Leafs missed the playoffs, Reimer was selected to the IIHF World Championship roster that season, where he had a 0.920 save percentage over four games. His crowning achievement with the franchise was in 2012-13, when he helped Toronto reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, it ended in heartbreak, after he allowed four unanswered goals to blow a 4-1 lead in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins after the Leafs had been up three games to one.

After the fateful loss, he struggled to regain his form with the Leafs and in 2015-16, he was traded to the Sharks. The change of scenery did him well, and he posted an impressive 1.62 goals-against average over eight games, which helped him earn a new contract with the Florida Panthers, splitting duties with Roberto Luongo. Now seen as a solid backup with the ability to start for long stretches, he joined the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2019-20 season to help out Petr Mrazek.

Author’s note: No, we aren’t related, as far as I know.
7. Dustin Penner

Public opinion is split on Penner. On one hand, he was a dominant power forward who won two Stanley Cups. On the other, he was difficult to coach and is remembered as the last player to be successfully signed to an offer sheet. Still, there is no denying his talent and impact. Penner grew up in Winkler with Eric Fehr, but while the latter was flying in the WHL, the former was struggling to stick with any team. Eventually, he made a small college team in North Dakota, which helped him get a scholarship to attend the University of Maine.

It was there that Penner’s fortunes changed. With Maine, he won the Hockey East championship over Boston College in 2004, which earned him a spot on the NCAA All-Star Team. It was enough to catch the attention of the Anaheim Ducks, and they offered the undrafted free agent a three-year deal in May, 2004, at 22 years old. In his first full season in 2006-07, he scored 45 points, earning him a handful of Calder Trophy votes as one of the league’s best rookies, and helped the Ducks win their first Stanley Cup that spring. That’s when the Edmonton Oilers came calling.

In one of the most controversial moves of the last 15 years, Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe signed Penner to a $21.25 million offer sheet, which Ducks GM Brian Burke was unable to match. Penner initially showed promise in Edmonton, but soon was clashing regularly with coach Craig MacTavish, who publicly criticized Penner’s fitness, and by 2011, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. He won another Cup with the Kings in 2012, but was hardly a factor, scoring 37 points over three seasons. Anaheim signed him again in 2013, but he joined the Capitals before season’s end and was reunited with Fehr before retiring in 2014.
6. Robyn Regehr

Regehr has the unique distinction of being the only Brazilian to play in the NHL. Born to Mennonite missionaries working in Recife, he spent his early childhood in Indonesia before coming to Canada at about the age of seven. His family settled in the small Mennonite town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Circumstance made him comparatively late to join organized hockey, but he was a quick learner and by 15 years old, he was a first-round selection by the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Three years later, he was a first-round selection by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

However, Regehr never played for the Avalanche, as he was traded to the Calgary Flames for Theoren Fleury and Chris Dingman in 1998-99, not long after winning a silver medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. That summer, Regehr suffered two broken legs in a car accident outside Saskatoon, which threatened to end his NHL career before it began. Yet four month later, he made his debut with the Flames, playing 57 games and scoring 12 points. That incredible accomplishment earned him a nomination for the Bill Masterton Trophy for his dedication to hockey, the youngest nominee in NHL history.

During his 15-year professional career, Regehr was one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen, helping the Flames reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2004, the first time since 1989, and serving as an assistant captain for several years. He won a gold medal with Canada at the World Cup in 2004, then a silver medal at the World Championships in 2005. In 2011, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in a cap dump, then to the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, where he finally won a Stanley Cup in 2014. He retired the following season, playing 827 of his 1090 games with the Flames, ranked third in franchise history.
5. Dave Schultz

Mennonites are strict pacifists, so to see some become hockey enforcers seems ironic. Yet in the 1970s, there were few meaner players than Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz, who came from the Mennonite community of Waldheim, Saskatchewan. With the WCHL’s Swift Current Broncos, he scored 101 points in 92 games over two seasons, prompting the Philadelphia Flyers to draft him with a fifth-round pick in 1969. However, the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ had a rough-and-tumble style, so Schultz adapted, registering 356 penalty minutes (PIM) in just 67 games with the Salem Rebels in 1969-70, his first 300+ PIM season.

After two seasons in the AHL where he nearly hit 400 PIM each campaign, the Flyers brought Schultz aboard in 1972-73. As a rookie, he was the NHL’s most penalized player with 259 PIMs, and scored 21 points. The next season, he added nearly 100 more minutes, keeping his penalty minute title, along with scoring 20 goals as the Flyers crashed their way to their first Stanley Cup. Then, in 1974-75, he set an NHL record for most penalty minutes in a season with 472, and the Flyers repeated as Cup champions.

However, the career of an enforcer is generally a short one, and Schultz was no different. After being traded from the Flyers to the Kings, he struggled to establish himself as more than a declining fighter, retiring in 1980 after appearing briefly with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. Two years later, he penned an open letter to his son about his regrets at his style of play, recalling, “My (childhood) idol was Dave Keon, who won the Lady Byng Trophy for good conduct, and I believed I could turn the other cheek,” (from ‘Dave Schultz: A Letter to My Son About Violence’, The New York Times – Feb 7 1982). Despite his conscience, he was one of the best at his job and made the Flyers one of the toughest teams in hockey history.

4. Willi Plett

Plett was born in Asuncion, Paraguay, after his parents fled from Germany during World War II and where they joined a thriving Mennonite community. A year after Plett was born, however, his family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where he started to play hockey at the age of 12. He was a natural athlete, who also played lacrosse in high school, and developed a style comparable to the modern power forward. After 14 points and 63 PIMs in 22 games with the St. Catherines Black Hawks, the Atlanta Flames drafted him 80th overall in 1975.

In 1975-76, Plett’s scoring punch and physicality helped the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers win the Adams Cup. Then, in 1976-77, he won the NHL’s Calder Trophy, scoring 56 points in 64 games while racking up 123 penalty minutes. He quickly became one of the franchise’s early stars, setting records for most penalty minutes (288 – 1981-82), longest point streak (nine games – 1976-77 and 1977-78), and most goals by a right winger (38 – 1981-82) in a single season. He was also instrumental in the Flames reaching the 1981 Stanley Cup semi-finals, their highest finish at the time.

However, Plett began to feud with Flames coach Al MacNeil, which led to MacNeil’s firing and Plett being traded to the Minnesota North Stars. He fought with North Stars coach Bill Mahoney as well, demanding more ice time, but the result was more positive; he set a career-high in PIMs in 1983-84 with 316. His style was not easy on his body, and after several knee and shoulder injuries, he was traded to the New York Rangers in 1987, hen was placed on waivers and claimed by the Boston Bruins. He retired in 1988 with the NHL record (since broken) of 488 career playoff penalty minutes, and is 16th in career PIMs.
3. Jeff Friesen

Although Friesen was never the biggest star, he was a proven winner. Growing up in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, he excelled with the WHL’s Regina Pats, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1992-93 after scoring 45 goals and 83 points. The following season, he earned a spot on the Canadian World Junior U20 team as an 18-year-old, after scoring 118 points with the Pats, where he won a gold medal. His resume was enough for the San Jose Sharks to use their 11th overall selection on the talented sniper in 1994. He made his NHL debut in 1994-95, scoring 25 points in 48 games and was selected to the All-Rookie team.

Friesen won one more World Junior gold medal in 1995, then win a silver medal at the World Championship in 1996 and a gold medal in 1997, all before turning 21. Soon, he was one of the Shark’s top scorers, leading the team in points in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In the 2001 offseason, despite sitting third in all-time scoring with 350 points (although that has since dropped to seventh), he was traded with Steve Shields to the Anaheim Ducks for Teemu Selanne. His time on the West Coast was brief, though, as he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03, where he won a Stanley Cup that season, contributing three game-winning goals in the semi-finals.

In 2004, Friesen won another silver medal at the World Championships, but when the NHL resumed in 2005-06, he struggled with injuries and was shuffled from the Capitals, back to Anaheim, then to the Flames. After spending 2007-08 in the AHL, he tried out for the Sharks but failed to make the team. He decided to go to Germany where he joined the Eisbaeren Berlin, with whom he won the German League’s championship in 2011 before retiring.
2. Garry Unger

Mennonites have long been defined by their work ethic, and Unger is one of the hardest working players in NHL history. Born in Calgary, Alberta, Unger made a name for himself playing for the London Nationals of the Ontario Hockey Association, scoring 73 points in 48 games in 1966-67. The Toronto Maple Leafs gave him his first shot at the NHL, playing him in 15 games in 1967-68, but they decided to trade him mid-season to the Detroit Red Wings in a massive eight-player blockbuster that included Frank Mahovlich, Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson.

In Toronto, Unger had managed just two points but with the Red Wings, he emerged as a star, scoring 15 points in 13 games. Accompanied by his care-free style and good looks, he quickly became a fan favourite and one of the team’s most reliable and talented players. However, he and the team clashed with their incredibly strict coach, Ned Harkness. When Harkness was inexplicably promoted to general manager in 1970-71, he traded away nearly half the team due to past grudges. Among the trades was Unger, who was sent to the expansion St. Louis Blues for veteran Red Berenson.

On a team without a bona fide star, Unger rose to the occasion, becoming the heart and soul of the Blues. From 1971 to 1979, he never scored less than 30 goals in a season and led the team in scoring in all but three of those campaigns. Despite only playing eight seasons, he still sits fourth in all-time points (575) and goals (292). Unger also never missed a game while in St. Louis. From February 24, 1968, with the Red Wings until December 23, 1979 with the Atlanta Flames, Unger played 914 consecutive games, nearly 300 games more than the previous record holder.

Unger finished his career in 1988 after appearing with the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and even a brief stint in Britain. Although his record was eventually broken by Doug Jarvis’ 964 consecutive games, he will always be remembered as the original Iron Man.

1. Jonathan Toews

It’s no surprise that Toews tops our list; not only is he the most talented Mennonite to play in the NHL, but he’s arguably one of the most successful Canadian hockey players in the modern era. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Toews quickly demonstrated he had a talent not many others had, and at the 2003 WHL Bantam Draft, the Tri-City Americans drafted him first overall. However, he had other plans for his future, instead leaving for the esteemed hockey school Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in Minnesota, and later the University of North Dakota.

Although he took a less traditional Canadian path to reach the NHL, it never hindered Toews. He was selected to the Canadian U20 World Junior Team in 2005-06 and 2006-07 winning gold both years, and was selected third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006. In his second appearance at the World Juniors, he was one of the best in the tournament, scoring three shootout goals against the Americans to advance to the finals. He joined the Blackhawks the following year, scoring 54 points in his rookie season and was third in the Calder Trophy voting behind teammate Patrick Kane and Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom.