Quiz about NHL Player Nicknames
Quiz about NHL Player Nicknames

NHL Player Nicknames Trivia Quiz

Nicknames are a common occurrence in professional sports, including my favourite one - hockey (specifically the NHL). Can you match these nicknames with their owners?
This is a renovated/adopted version of an old quiz by author dustinb

A matching quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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3 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Jan 05 22
# Qns
Avg Score
9 / 10
Last 3 plays: Guest 24 (0/10), Robert907 (10/10), Guest 69 (10/10).
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. Wayne Gretzky  
The Finnish Flash
2. Félix Potvin  
Mario Jr.
3. Igor Larionov  
Mr. Hockey
4. Jaromír Jágr  
The Rocket
5. Sidney Crosby  
The Kid
6. Teemu Selänne  
The Great One
7. Pavel Bure  
The Cat
8. Maurice Richard  
The Russian Rocket
9. Ed Belfour  
The Professor
10. Gordie Howe  
The Eagle

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Wayne Gretzky

Answer: The Great One

Wayne Gretzky is one of, if not THE, most legendary hockey player in the history of the National Hockey League. He may not hold all of the records, but in his day, he held a great many of them, including the most points earned by a player in their career with 2,857 points in 1,487 games played.

#99 played the bulk of his career with the Edmonton Oilers (1979-88) and the Los Angeles Kings (1988-96) before finishing off with brief stints with the St. Louis Blues (1996) and the New York Rangers (1996-99). His jersey number was retired league-wide in the year 2000. Gretzky actually earned his nickname when he was just ten years old, and he never had another one over his whole career.
2. Félix Potvin

Answer: The Cat

Félix Potvin was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1990 and had his NHL debut in the '91-'92 season before taking on the starting goaltender role with the team the next year. After seven years with the Leafs, Potvin was traded to the New York Islanders (in Jan. 1999), beginning a few years of bouncing around the league - to the Vancouver Canucks (in Dec. 1999), the L.A. Kings (2001), and finally the Boston Bruins (2003) where he played his last season.

Potvin had a great start to his career, posting a league-best 2.50 goals-against average, finished third for the Calder Trophy voting and fourth for the Vezina Trophy, and helped the Leafs to their deepest playoff run in decades (went to the Conference finals and lost in seven games). Félix "The Cat" Potvin earned his nickname by the combination of his 'cat-like' reflexes with the obvious cartoon cat reference.
3. Igor Larionov

Answer: The Professor

Igor Larionov began his professional playing career in the Soviet Union, and was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1985. With the Cold War nearing its completion, there were complications that Larionov had to overcome before being able to come to North America, but he was finally able to do so for the 1989-90 NHL season (at the age of 28).

During his NHL career, he played three seasons with the Canucks (1989-92), two (and a bit) seasons with the San Jose Sharks (1993-1995), and the better part of eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (1995-2003) with a brief stint with the Florida Panthers in the middle (2000). During his time with the Red Wings, Larionov helped the team to three Stanley Cup Championships (1997, 1998, 2002). For his last year in the NHL, he played a single season with the New Jersey Devils (2003-04).

As to Larionov's nickname, it was given to him for his clinical play (he would 'put on a clinic' on the ice), and additionally for his bookish look off the ice wearing glasses.
4. Jaromír Jágr

Answer: Mario Jr.

Jaromír Jágr came to the NHL as the first Czech player able to do so without having to defect from the Easter Bloc. His started with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990-91 season and stayed there for eleven seasons (until the end of the 2000-01 season), during which time he earned the league scoring title on five occasions. It was soon after joining the Penguins that Jágr earned the nickname 'Mario Jr.' when fans realized that it was an anagram of his first name (referring to Mario Lemieux, of course).

Jaromír Jágr would go on to play for eight more teams over his long career, and set numerous records along the way. After the Penguins, he played for the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Dallas Stars, the Boston Bruins, the New Jersey Devils, the Florida Panthers and the Calgary Flames. And he didn't stop there, returning to the Czech Republic to play for his old team, Rytíøi Kladno. Before he left the NHL, Jágr reached second place on the all-time NHL career regular season points list (only behind Wayne Gretzky), third on the goal-scoring list, and fifth on the assists list.
5. Sidney Crosby

Answer: The Kid

Sidney Crosby was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005, selected first overall. In his rookie year he reached 102 points on the season, but lost out on winning the Calder Trophy for 'Rookie of the Year' to Alex Ovechkin (who achieved a 106-point season).

Crosby was quickly dubbed 'Sid the Kid' by the media, and was also often referred to as 'The Next One' (in reference to Wayne Gretzky's nickname 'The Great One'). As 'Sid the Kid', Crosby appropriately set a number of records as the youngest player in the NHL to achieve them. On February 21st of 2021, Crosby became the first player to play 1,000 games with the Penguins franchise.
6. Teemu Selänne

Answer: The Finnish Flash

Teemu Selänne was drafted by the (original) Winnipeg Jets in 1988, but would not join the team until the 1992-93 season. His impact was immediate as he set a record for most points (132) and goals (76) by a rookie, and tied for the league goal-scoring title with Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres.

'The Finnish Flash' was an apt nickname for Selänne, as he was actually a very fast skater, which certainly complemented his skill as a goal-scorer. Selänne was traded from the Jets to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1996, where he stayed until 2001. From there he did stints with the San Jose Sharks (2001-03) and Colorado Avalanche (2003-04) before returning to Anaheim until he retired in 2014.
7. Pavel Bure

Answer: The Russian Rocket

Pavel Bure entered the NHL as a bit of a dark horse, getting drafted in the SIXTH round (113th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in 1989. There had been some question of his eligibility for the draft (and concerns about coming over from the Soviet Union), or he might have been chosen earlier. A couple of years later saw his start with the Canucks (1991-92 season), and his speed and skill quickly earned him the nickname 'The Russian Rocket'.

Bure played with the Canucks until the end of the 1997-98 (seven seasons), the left the team for personal reasons. He was traded to the Florida Panthers in January of 1999, where he played for nearly three full seasons (1999-2002) before moving again to the New York Rangers where he finished his NHL career, retiring in 2003.
8. Maurice Richard

Answer: The Rocket

Maurice Richard joined the Montréal Canadiens in 1942 at the age of 21 after earning a tryout while playing for their affiliate team in the Quebec Senior Hockey League. His nickname 'The Rocket' came from Boston Bruins left winger Ray Getliffe who made the comment, "Look at that, he's like a rocket." during a game warm-up. The next day the nickname was in the newspapers.

After being plagued with injuries in his first few seasons, 'Rocket' Richard had his breakout year with the Canadiens in the 1944-45, setting records for the most points in one game (5G, 3A for 8 Pts) and becoming the first player to score 50 goals in a season (which also happened to be 50 games long). The 50-in-50 milestone is one that would not be achieved again until Mike Bossy managed it in the 1980-81 season with the New York Islanders. Richard played his entire NHL career with the Montréal Canadiens, retiring in 1960 with 18 seasons and eight Stanley Cup Championships.
9. Ed Belfour

Answer: The Eagle

Eddie 'The Eagle' Belfour signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1987 as an undrafted player, following an impressive year with the University of North Dakota (they won the NCAA National Title). After starting out with the Black Hawks IHL affiliate, Belfour got his first NHL action during the 1988-89 season.(Belfour earned his nickname from head coach Mike Keenan after getting a helmet made with eagles on it. He had asked for 'a mean-looking bird on the mask', and the designer chose to put on the eagles.)

In his first full season with the Black Hawks (1990-91), Belfour earned the starting goalie spot, and posted 43 wins in 74 games, setting a team record as well as the record for an NHL rookie season (and earning the Calder Trophy as 'Rookie of the Year'). He also won the Vezina Trophy ('Best Goaltender') and the William M. Jennings Trophy (fewest team goals-against). He was traded to the San Jose Sharks in January of 1997 and played just the one partial season there before signing with the Dallas Stars as a free agent. In 2002, he moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and made one more move to spend his last NHL year with the Florida Panthers (2006-07).
10. Gordie Howe

Answer: Mr. Hockey

Gordie Howe is one of the best players to have played in the NHL, and as his nickname 'Mr. Hockey', suggests, he was considered a 'complete' player in skill, physicality, and longevity. And while the nickname was attached to Howe at some point during his career, even he did not remember exactly when, as he stated in an interview with NPR, "How I got it I have no idea. It was put into print before I recognized it."

Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings for the first 25 years of his career (1946-1971), moved over to the WHA for six years, then did one more season in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers (1979-80). His career totals (801 goals, 1049 assists, and 1850 total points) were records that would not be broken until Wayne Gretzky managed it. And Gretzky chose his #99 as a tribute to his hero, Gordie Howe, who wore #9. And even though he only did it twice himself during his career, a 'Gordie Howe Hatrick' consists of one goal, one assist, and a fight during a game.
Source: Author reedy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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