Everyone in the world wants to live the same way: young, wild, and free. The younger years of life are the best. The first 18 years results in growing up with your friends, playing ball after long, tiring schooldays, and not having a care in the world. Those next years of 19-23 involve going off to college and studying what you want to be when you get older, or pursuing a career right after high school with a trade they picked up such as carpentry or HVAC work. Then you have your mid 20s to early 30s where you can get your career in a good direction and buy a house, raise a family, and be more independent. For professional athletes, they have their early years of having fun and want to stay in that mid 20 to early 30 age gap for the rest of their career and their lives. Unfortunately, everyone has to get old at some point.
NHL players certainly can age very quickly. They spent so much time in rinks and on the ice that they forget where the time has gone. The days of Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are long gone and they are not walking back through the doors anytime soon to lace up the skates. A lot have gone on to coaching, being entrepreneurs, raising families, and have even gotten their kids into hockey as well. This list takes a look at former NHL players that have aged quite a bit since they last stepped foot on the ice. Without further adieu, we present 15 photos of past NHL players that are looking really old.
15 Brett Hull
Hall of Fame right winger Brett Hull was a part of the Blues organization for the better part of 11 years. He also spent some time in Dallas, Detroit, Calgary, and Phoenix. He had 741 goals and 650 assists to register 1,391 points total in his storied career. He won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002 and was an 11 time All-Star. For all of his success he had, he has certainly aged quite a bit. Right from the photo, you can tell his face has gotten fatter and his hair is turning a lovey shade of gray. He definitely by far is one of the older players that has visibly gotten older based on the photos provided.
If this list proves anything it's that NHL legends are still human beings like us, and are going to age just like us... But we'd definitely still want to be in their shoes and be remembered as legends of the game.
14 Steve Yzerman
Spending your whole career in one city is a blasphemous thought in this day of age. When money flies around everywhere and "superteams" become formed, All-Stars try to jump on the bandwagon to secure a championship. This long time Detroit Red Wing stayed around for his whole career in Detroit, but his young looks have not stuck around long term. For 22 years, Yzerman suited up for the Red and White and was a long time captain. He won three Stanley Cups during his tenure with the Red Wings and was a 10 time All-Star to add to the impressive resume.
Now, he is the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. With a high price talent in Steven Stamkos, he definitely has something to build off of. But while juggling the responsibilities of being a family man and the general manager of a professional sports team, he might want to look in the mirror and figure out where the time has gone. Thank You for all you did for Detroit, Steve; that surely will not be forgotten...from many years ago!
13 Ray Bourque
Remember when we said All-Stars will join "superteams" in order to give themselves the best chance to win? Well, there is one little exception we forget to mention: if they are at the end of their career, we can give them a pass. This was the case for the next NHL Hall of Famer on the list that is looking pretty old to us all. Ray Bourque was a long time Boston Bruin who put up a lot of points as a defensemen. He had over 1,500 points in his Bruins career, but he was never able to finish what he started in Boston and that was to bring home a Stanley Cup to the Bruins organization.
Eventually, he was getting toward the end of his career and decided to go play for the Colorado Avalanche in order to give himself a better chance at winning the Cup. The move ended up working out as he won the 2001 Stanley Cup with the Avalanche and then rode of into the sunset as a champion. Bourque still lives in Boston with his family to this day and has a big part with multiple charities. But he definitely looks older in his face, hair and body. But boy, it was amazing to see what that man could do on the ice for so many years!
12 Keith Tkachuk
The next man on this countdown has a long list of impressive accomplishments during his career. Keith Tkachuk was an impressive left winger that spent time in multiple cities in the United States and Canada that included Winnipeg, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Atlanta. He had over 1,000 points and played over 1,000 career games, quite impressive when you break down the numbers of an 82 game season. He was a five time All Star; not bad for a Boston boy coming out of Malden Catholic High School (a traditional hockey powerhouse in Massachusetts) and one year of Boston University. But let's call it like it is: Keith Tkachuk is older and it is hard to hide it. He is know 45 years old and his receding hairline leading to an almost bald head shows his better looking days are behind him. He is another example of father time just eventually getting the best out of everyone sooner or later.
11 Patrick Roy
Goalies are the most crucial part of the game of hockey. They can have a 100 mph slapshot coming at them with defenders blocking their line of vision, they are the only player that can put their hands on the puck to stop play, and they have the least violent position in the game. This man took the form of goaltending and turned it into an art form. Patrick Roy stopped a lot of shots back in his prime. He had a split career between the Canadiens and the Avalanche. He was a 11 time All-Star and a three time Conn Smythe award winner. He won three Stanley Cups, one with the Habs in 1993 and two more with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001. He has 289 career wins and 29 career shutouts. He has a Hall of Fame resume and probably had a lot of fun winning throughout the course of his career. But man, does he look older. His hair is gray and he just looks old with the way he moves. He is a hero in Montreal and Colorado for helping be a part of a championship, but father time is starting to rear its ugly head with Patrick Roy. All his years of coaching following his retirement probably didn't help the aging process.
10 Martin St. Louis
His last name resembles a big city in the state of Missouri and his game resembled just how good of a player he really was. Martin St. Louis made a name for himself, especially in a sunshine state like Florida. He was a right winger that played 17 long and grueling seasons in the NHL, but it didn't go unnoticed. He is another member of the 1,000 point club and garnered 6 All-Star game appearances. He won three Lady Byng trophies, a Hart Trophy and took home a 2004 Stanley Cup final with the Lightning. His career was so good that he recently got his number retired and hung into the rafters by the Lightning.
He definitely is getting older considering he started his career in 1998 and recently retired a few years ago in 2015. His speed was a little slower and his reactions just were not up to par as his age started to show. He was a great player for the Lightning and can enjoy the sun and fun that is Florida now that he is retired.
9 Joe Sakic
Back in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, there was a little time in Quebec that made headlines in the NHL called the Nordiques. The Nordiques had a young player that would end up being a legend...only problem is that it wasn't in Quebec. Joe Sakic was a center that spent 20 years in the league. He played close to 1,400 games and recorded over 1,000 points between Quebec before they became the Colorado Avalanche. He led the Avalanche's to the 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cup championships. Sakic looked like the type of player to stay clean and look good for any potential suitors that came his way. He is now happily married to his wife Debbie and have three children. Thank goodness he found his wife when did because right now, he's looking old as can be. His face is the same, but he still looks like time is getting the better of him like it does with most of us.
8 Mats Sundin
There are only a few captains in sports that just fit the term "captain". Paul Pierce was the captain of the Boston Celtics for many years and eventually got the nickname "The Captain" to go along with "The Truth". In baseball, Derek Jeter was the long time New York Yankee captain and eventually got the nickname "The Captain" as well. In Toronto, there should have been one guy to receive that same honor for all of his years of captainship with the Maple Leafs. Mats Sundin was well-known as the team captain for 11 years. Before his time in Toronto, he spent his first four NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques much like Sakic. He was then traded to Toronto in 1994 and played there until 2007 where he then played one season with the Vancouver Canucks before hanging up his skates.
He had quite the career, but he is certainly aging. At age 46, he has balded and looks unrecognizable without his "hockey flow" under his helmet showing. Hair is usually the first sign of aging, but Sundin better be careful to make sure nothing else goes either.
7 Ed Belfour
Going back to goalies, they are the most interesting creatures of all time. They have to be on their toes the whole time and ready for anything that might come in their way. This guy was another goalie like Patrick Roy that made goaltending look as easy as reciting the ABC's. That man's name is Ed Belfour and boy did he have a natural knack for stopping many pucks that came his way. He spent his career playing mostly for the Blackhawks, Stars, and Maple Leafs with a few stops in San Jose and Florida. The stats speak for themselves just like they have with every other guy on this list. He won two Vezina trophies and a Stanley Cup in 1999.
But boy, has he gotten up there in age with his eyes sagging and face wrinkling up on him. Ed Belfour may have been able to stop pucks but he cannot stop father time from meeting with him, no matter how much he was in control of himself during his playing days.
6 Mark Recchi
Entering the top five oldest looking photos of NHL players, this guy certainly knew how to be a veteran presence wherever he went. He last notably played on the Boston Bruins, but he was getting up there and his aging has continued since he left the game. Mark Recchi was a left winger that spent most of his NHL career with the Flyers, Penguins, and Canadians. He also made a few pit stops in Boston, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. He had 577 goals and over 956 assists in his career to account for 1,533 career points. Considering he played 22 years in the NHL, those numbers are phenomenal as he would have had to average 70 points per season.
He was another proven winner, but his getting older has proven he is losing. He may have had a great career everywhere he went, but he is not having fun trying to look like the younger version of himself as time is catching up to him!
5 Mario Lemieux
We kick off our list of older looking NHL players with one of the best of all time. He helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win back to back Stanley Cups as a player and as an owner, he led them to three more Stanley Cups. Lemieux once had a 199 point season for the Penguins in the 1988-1989 season and had over 1,700 points in his entire career. He made his debut with the Penguins in 1984.
We're now 33 years later and man, has he aged! You have to give credit where credit is due, Mario Lemieux is a proven winner. But he has definitely aged in the face and in the hair ever since his first days in the NHL. He has made the right moves as the Penguins owner by drafting high quality talent such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin which has exactly what helped the Penguins win back to back Stanley Cups in 206 and 2017. For all the right moves he has made with hockey decisions, Lemieux might want to decide to invest in some hair products so he doesn't look old as can be!
4 Chris Chelios
The next player on our list certainly didn't put up the numbers Mario Lemieux had. But he definitely did make an impact on his legacy in the NHL. Chelios knew how to put stats on the board. He finished his career with 185 goals, 763 assists to combine for 948 points total in his 27 years in the league. He now has a role in the Detroit Red Wings front office but man is he getting up there in age. He started out his career in 1983, just one year before Lemieux did. So it is understandable why he is looking like he has aged quite a bit.
Chelios is still in amazing shape, as he's stuck to a strict workout regimen in retirement, but there are some aging signs that no workout will fix.
3 Brian Leetch
Another 1,000 career point registrar makes his way into the number four spot on this list with his very good-looking wife making an appearance. This defensemen spent many of his years in the Big Apple playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people every night for the Rangers. He then made final stops in Toronto and Boston. A Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a Stanley Cup champion in 1994, Brian Leetch had a career to be proud of. He scored over 200 goals and had over 700 assists, very impressive for a defensemen as they typically do not score a lot of points. But his aging is definitely noticeable.
His hair fading away and skin becoming more wrinkly shows his better looking days are behind him. He must have gotten his wife at a young age because now, he wouldn't be able to win her over; even if he told her he was a former NHL player. Leetch is getting older, but not as older as our number three candidate.
2 Jeremy Roenick
Another big name that makes this list for having an older looking photo played much of his career in many different organizations as well. What happened to loyalty anymore? I guess that is a thing of the past. Anyways, this center spent a majority of his career in Chicago and Phoenix before spending some time in Philadelphia, San Jose, and Los Angeles. Jeremy Roenick spent a great deal of his time in the NHL putting pucks in the back of the net and setting up teammates to do the same. He had 513 career goals along with 703 career assists to have 1,216 points, a sign of true dominance during a time period with so many star players. He may not look as old as some people would expect.
But when you look at his photos from his younger days, he looks practically unrecognizable. He still has his flowing hair, but he definitely has aged in his face. Anybody remember the hit Nickelodeon show "Rocket Power"? He made a voice cameo in an episode...that show was popular in the early 2000's. Now do you feel old yet? Roenick probably feel that along with his career was ages ago.
1 Teemu Selanne
Ducks fly together! Well, that's what the Mighty Ducks movies taught us when we were younger with the Flying V and story of underdogs overpowering the heavyweight favorites. This guy might not have been a favorite to be a star in the league even though he was a first round draft pick, but he ended up winning the hearts of fans everywhere. Teemu Selanne was a right winger that spent a majority of his time in the Ducks organization, 15 years to be exact. When he wasn't with the Ducks, he spent some time in Winnipeg, San Jose, and Colorado. Selanne had close to 700 career goals and almost 800 career assists, not bad for the 6 foot winger from Finland. But when Selanne came into the league, he looked like the little kid brother that everyone loved and wanted to protect.
Now, he looks like a full grown man and not in a good way. His hair has gotten messier and he might have lost a few teeth along the way. No matter how much older he looks, he still is one of the most underrated players to be considered all time in the history of the NHL.