The NHL has had some of the greatest athletes of all time in their league and that is a marvellous thing. Besides their players being absolute beasts on the ice, a lot of them are amazing people off the ice. For example, although he gets a lot of criticism, P.K. Subban donated $10 million to the Children’s Hospital in Montreal. So many players have done things like this and will always be respected for it. Yet there is an abundance of players in the NHL who are not great people and can even be deemed as bad.
That is what we will be looking at in this latest article. The fifteen players in this article have grown to be hated throughout the NHL and that makes a lot of sense. Some of these players have been extremely greedy, while others have gone out of their ways to injure some of the league’s bests. Some have even been involved in criminal scandals for acts that will be discussed in detail later on. Overall, through this, we will learn that not all NHL players are nice people.
Nonetheless, let us take a look at the fifteen most hated people in NHL history.
15 Alexei Yashin
Alexei Yashin was a dominant player in the NHL during the 1990s and early 2000s. Throughout his NHL career, he was a very talented playmaker who was spectacular at distributing the puck to his teammates. Although Yashin had an accomplished career, his attitude and off ice issues will forever solidify him as an unlikable player and overall jerk.
During his stint with the Ottawa Senators, Yashin did many horrible things. He first consistently complained about not receiving enough money and even sat out an entire season because of this. To make matters worse, he also turned away from a donation he said he would make because his parents would not receive any money in return. Yashin was clearly a terrible person during his time in the NHL and that would only become more clear after all the stunts he pulled on the Islanders.
14 Sean Avery
Sean Avery was by far the biggest pest to have ever played in the NHL. Avery was actually a talented hockey player, but no one ever had respect for him because he did not distribute it to other players. Avery’s success during his NHL career was largely because of his ability to draw penalties for his idiotic antics. No one will ever forget the way he screened Martin Brodeur each time he faced him.
Avery is generally despised by everyone because of his idiotic persona and consistent trash talking to the media. After Martin Brodeur did not shake his hand after their playoff series, Avery called Brodeur “fatso.” That is just extremely disrespectful to the best goalie of all time. The main reason why everyone hates Avery is his “sloppy seconds” comment toward Dion Phaneuf. It was great to see him lose his job in Dallas after that because he deserved that.
13 Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy is one of the greatest goalies of all time and should be praised for his sensational NHL career. Roy won four Stanley Cups in the NHL and was absolutely dominant throughout the entire process. Yet, throughout his career, he was extremely vocal and easily could have been classified as a hothead. This made him get traded from the Montreal Canadiens.
After retiring from the NHL, it became perfectly clear that Roy had far too short of a temper and quickly began to be far more hated by people all over the NHL. Roy became head coach of the Colorado Avalanche and often criticized his best players in a very unprofessional manner. Roy would end up resigning from the position right before the 2016-17 season.
12 Marty McSorley
Marty McSorley made a pretty promising NHL career for himself as an enforcer and the main protector of Wayne Gretzky. McSorley is one of the most vicious hockey players to have ever played in the NHL and was a fan favourite of many teams he played on because of his tenacious play and high energy fights. McSorley made a grave mistake that showed his true character.
During his stint with the Boston Bruins, McSorley slashed Donald Brashear right in the head and it led to Brashear receiving a severe concussion. This is one of the most gruesome plays ever in the history of the NHL and easily is enough to qualify McSorley for this play. This season would end up being the last of McSorley’s career and it makes sense as to why. He was banned for life from the NHL.
11 Todd Bertuzzi
During his stint with the Vancouver Canucks, Todd Bertuzzi was one of the game’s elite power forwards and dominated the NHL. Besides being very active on the physical side of the game, Bertuzzi had the ability to score a lot of clutch goals. Bertuzzi was one of the main reasons why the Canucks had success during his tenure there, but he will always be remembered more for one infamous situation.
During a game against the Colorado Avalanche during the early 2000’s, Bertuzzi jumped Steve Moore from behind. The play was in retaliation for Moore’s hit on Markus Naslund earlier that season, but Bertuzzi easily crossed the line. Moore ended up getting a severe concussion and three broken neck vertebrae. Needless to say, Moore would never play another NHL game again.
10 Dale Hunter
Dale Hunter was a very talented NHL player and had a lot of success in the league. For a player who spent an abundance of time in the penalty box, Hunter also was very active on the scoring sheet. Hunter managed to tally over 1000 points in his NHL career, while spending over 3000 minutes in the penalty box. This is where the issue with him is evident.
Hunter threw a lot of cheapshots to opposing players and often looked to injure the game’s best players. However, his most infamous moment came during the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders. After Pierre Turgeon stole the puck from him and padded his team’s lead, Hunter blindsided Turgeon during his goal celebration. This play was an absolute baby move by Hunter and deservingly led him to a 21 game suspension.
9 Chris Simon
Chris Simon will always be remembered as one of the top enforcers to have ever played in the NHL. During the earlier years of his NHL career, Simon actually had a scoring touch and even put up 49 points. That is a wonderful feat for a player who normally spent his time on the ice fighting and that should never be forgotten by the fans.
Yet it is absolutely apparent that once Simon got older, his insanity on the ice became far more evident. During his final years with the New York Islanders, Simon made two devastating plays that led to severe injuries. First, Simon swung his stick at Ryan Hollweg’s face and rightfully was given a 25 game suspension. Soon after returning the following season, Simon purposely stepped on Jarkko Ruutu and received a 30 game suspension. Simon never learned.
8 Raffi Torres
Raffi Torres was one of the most talented players on this list and had a very successful NHL career. As a bottom six grinder, Torres had the ability to put up solid statistics and was always an integral part of the teams he played for. However, Torres clear intent to injure opposing players is what he will always be remembered for.
During the 2012 playoffs, Torres threw arguably his most dangerous hit on Blackhawks’ superstar Marian Hossa, which led to Hossa getting a concussion. Torres was given a large 21 game suspension. Torres did not learn at all from this hefty suspension because in 2015, he threw another headshot on Ducks’ forward Jakub Silverberg. He would get a 41 game suspension and never return again.
7 Bobby Clarke
Bobby Clarke is a hockey hall of famer and the main reason why the Philadelphia Flyers were able to win two Stanley Cups during the 1970s. Clarke was the perfect combination of a superstar forward and physical player. Although he played the game tenaciously and made opposing players hate him, he became more despised after he retired.
After retiring from the Flyers, Clarke was general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers during the Eric Lindros era. He was unnecessarily critical of Lindros throughout his entire tenure. He often said Lindros did not deserve big money, even though he was the best player in the league during that time. The main reason why Clarke made this list is because he belittled Lindros with his concussion issues and basically told him to play through it.
6 Jesse Boulerice
Jesse Boulerice is a player who did not leave any impact on the NHL because he was ultimately a fourth line stiff. Boulerice played during the era of the enforcer and that is the only reason why he ended up being an NHL player. Boulerice was a fairly talented scrapper, but even with that will always be hated by the NHL for what he did during the 2007-2008 season.
In a game against the Vancouver Canucks, Boulerice viciously crosschecked Ryan Kesler in the face and that led to him being unable to get up off the ice. This was such a dangerous play by Boulerice and should never be forgotten because there was a clear attempt to injure. Boulerice would end up getting a 25 game suspension and luckily did not return.
5 Eddie Shore
Eddie Shore was the first Boston Bruins legend and he ultimately is the player who built the tradition of the club. Shore was a very hardnosed, tenacious hockey player who had skill to go along with it. Although Shore was a superstar in the NHL and one of the best defensemen of his era, he was one of the dirtiest players to have ever played the game.
Although Shore played during an era where recordings are impossible to find, there are numerous documented issues that came from him. He is most remembered for hitting Ace Bailey from behind and almost killing him. Bailey fractured his skull and because of this, never was able to play in the NHL again. Shore’s ridiculous temper almost killed someone, so it is easy to put him on this list.
4 Scott Stevens
Scott Stevens is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and it is easy to understand why. Stevens was at the top of his class when it came to his defensive play and led the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cups during his career. Stevens made a name for himself by not only being a very skilled player, but also for his immense participation in the physical side of the game.
However, Stevens was a very dirty player as well and that ultimately is what lands him on this list. Stevens will forever be remembered for ruining both Paul Kariya and Eric Lindros’ careers, and these were two players right in their primes. Stevens handed out so many concussions to top players and ultimately should be looked at in more of a negative light than a positive one despite his great success.
3 Steve Downie
The NHL is very fortunate that Steve Downie is no longer a member of the league. Although Downie had some success as a player, his disregard for the safety of other players was always apparents and made him despised by everyone. Before even joining the NHL, Downie hazed his junior teammate, Akim Aliu, and ended up fighting him when Aliu stood up for himself.
Because of his behavioural problems and dirty play, Downie found himself out of the NHL before he even turned 30. Downie forever ruined his reputation back in 2007 when he absolutely destroyed Dean McAmmond with a soaring hit to the head. This play alone absolutely showed how little Downie cared about injuring players. The hit was so bad it landed him a 20 game suspension and easily could have been more.
2 Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler is one of the best two way forwards in the NHL today and is a main reason why the Anaheim Ducks are a powerhouse in the league today. His defensive ability is arguably the best out of all the forwards in the NHL today and he also is a consistent threat in the offensive department. Yet, Kesler has grown a very bad reputation around the league and it is easy to understand why.
Kesler is easily one of the most hated players in the NHL because he is a very dirty player and consistently gets under opposing players’ skin. Kesler will openly talk negatively about players as well. However, Kesler will always be despised around the league for the way he demanded a trade out of Vancouver. He was extremely disrespectful in the process and forced them to ship him out to a rival. That was such a jerk move by Kesler.
1 Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane could go down as the best player to have ever played in the NHL from the United States. Kane has led the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships and even scored the Cup winning goal in 2010. There is no doubt that Kane is one of the best players in the league today, but his off ice antics will always make him despised by everyone.
Looking at Kane, it is apparent that he has had moments where he has lacked complete empathy for other humans. During his younger years, Kane was arrested for beating up an elderly cab driver. Besides this, Kane also has been accused of assault by two women. Although the charges have been dropped, it is a bit alarming that more than one person has made these claims and this ultimately tarnished his reputation around the league.