Being in top physical shape is part of the job when it comes to being a professional athlete. Although some hockey players still get a bad rap for not being in the greatest physical condition, these players are becoming more rare in today’s NHL. All teams now have strength and conditioning coaches, who design workout programs and make sure the players are eating right. When the offseason starts, most players have personal trainers to make sure they are in peak physical form before the season starts. As you can see, there’s really no excuse to not be in shape, especially when you are getting millions of dollars to be.
Although the players have fitness experts keeping them on the right track during their playing career, when they retire, they are usually all on their own. An NHL player has to eat a great deal of food in order to maintain body mass. They can get away with eating a ton of calories as they are always burning them off. Unfortunately, retired players have seemed to continue to eat the same amount of food, with little to no exercising. This is most likely the main reason the players on this list have gotten out of shape and overweight. It’s only natural these players will lose muscle mass, but here’s hoping these players can lose some fat too.
Here are the top 15 NHLers who got fat after they retired.
15. Brett Hull
Brett Hull is one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, as he currently ranks fourth all-time with 741 career goals. In 1990-91, while playing for the St. Louis Blues, he scored a remarkable 86 goals, which ranks second to only “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. Hull would reach the 50 goal-plus plateau five times during his career. There is no denying the fact that Hull was a very talented player. He had an absolute cannon of shot and if you let him receive a one-time pass, it more often than not ended up in the back of the net. However, Hull was an average skater at best and it only got worse as his career went on.
Eventually his skating and conditioning would be the main reason he decided to retire. After sitting out the 2004-05 season due to the lockout, he would play just five games with the Phoenix Coyotes. Hull admitted that the game was just too quick for him. As you now know, Hull was never in the greatest physical shape. His time away from the game has done him no favours, as he has packed on the pounds. However, he probably still shoots the puck as hard as anybody, it just might take him a while to skate to a puck.
14. Mike Marson
Mike Marson may have not had the biggest impact when it comes to his production in the NHL, but he was a pioneer when it came to black players in the NHL. Marson made his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals in 1974-75 and, in the process, became just the second black player to ever play in the NHL. Unfortunately, for almost his entire career, he was stuck playing on a terrible Capitals team. Marson didn’t do him or the Capitals any favours with his conditioning, showing up to his first training camp thirty pounds overweight.
Marson bounced around the minors before calling it a career after the 1979-80 season. Marson was never even close to be the most conditioned guy during his playing career,and its seems things have only gotten worse in the 30-plus years since he retired.
13. Adam Deadmarsh
Adam Deadmarsh had a fairly brief, but successful career. He spent the majority of his career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise. In his first season with Colorado, he played a significant role in the Avalanche winning their first ever Stanley Cup, scoring 17 points in 22 playoff games. The best NHL season of his career came during the the 1996-97 season, when he scored a career high 33 goals. He would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2001. Although he was productive for the Kings when he was healthy, that wasn’t very often. He suffered a career ending concussion, and wouldn’t play another game after the 2002-03 season.
Since retiring, Deadmarsh has taken up coaching. It seems like his post concussion syndrome might have stopped him from working out, as he definitely looks a great deal more chubby in the face than he was during his playing career.
12. Tony Amonte
Tony Amonte was a very under the radar player during his career. Although he never won any individual awards, or a Stanley Cup, he was a productive player from the beginning to the end of his career. During his rookie season with the New York Rangers in 1991-92, he would score 35 goals and was named to the NHL All-Rookie team. Amonte played on the Rangers team that won the 1994 Stanley Cup, but he was unfortunately traded to Chicago just before the playoffs. As much as it sucked for him not to win a Stanley Cup, Amonte had the best years of his career with the Blackhawks. He scored 40-plus goals on three different occasions with Chicago.
After playing the 2006-07 season with the Calgary Flames, Amonte would call it a career. Since retiring he has took up coaching, as well as some broadcasting. Amonte now almost looks unrecognizable and he looks nothing like the speedy player he once was.
11. Pasi Nurminen
Pasi Nurminen was originally a sixth round draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2001. He wasn’t really expected to make it to the NHL, but he defied the odds and made his debut with the Thrashers during the 2001-02 season. He only played nine games for the Thrashers that year, but would play a combined 116 games for Atlanta the following two seasons. It looked like the Thrashers had their starting goalie for the foreseeable future, but Nurminen unfortunately suffered a career ending knee injury in 2005.
After retiring, Nurminen became a part owner of the Lahti Pelicans of the Finnish Liiga. He also became a coach for the team, as well as for the Finnish National Team. Even though he was a bit heavier of a goalie during his playing career, weighing in at over 200 pounds, he seems to have put even more weight on. His weight gain might have been noticed by less people had Nurminen not made himself a viral video sensation, when he drunkenly fell off a plane and smashed his face into a trophy.
10. Stan Jonathan
Stan Jonathan carved himself out a decent NHL career. He is considered one of toughest players to ever put on a Boston Bruins jersey. He played all but 19 of his 411 career NHL games with the Bruins. He started his NHL career being coached by the legendary Don Cherry, which was a perfect fit for Jonathan’s playing style. He played a very gritty game, but he could score goals when he needed to. He had a career season in 1977-78, when he scored 27 goals and 52 points.
Unfortunately for Jonathan, his rough and tumble style of play forced him into early retirement in 1983. Jonathan was a shorty stocky man, even during his playing days. It seems like all those years abusing his body has kept him from being able to use the gym. He looks like he’s easily over 300 pounds today and you would have never have thought he was professional athlete at one point.
9. Jeff O’Neill
Jeff O’Neill was a star player in junior, scoring a combined 87 goals during his final two seasons. He was originally taken by the Hartford Whalers with the fifth overall pick in the 1994 D raft. It took a while for O’Neill to find his footing in the NHL, but by the 1999-00 season, he recorded his first of five 20 goal-plus seasons. The best year of his career was by far the 2000-01 season with Carolina, when he scored an fantastic 41 goals.
O’Neill’s career took a downturn when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005. His stay with Toronto only lasted two seasons, before he retired in 2007 at only the age of 31.
Since leaving the game, O’Neill has taken up broadcasting. Just by looking at his face, it’s not hard to see he is out of shape.
8. Eric Lindros
For a time during the early to mid 1990s, Eric Lindros was probably the best player in the entire NHL. He won the Hart Trophy in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, when he recorded 70 points in just 46 games. Lindros was a big dude and not only could he put the puck in the net, but he was capable of laying out some devastating hits. Unfortunately for Lindros, he soon became the victim of some devastating hits as well. Lindros’ career was never really the same after he took a hit to the head from Scott Stevens in the 2000 NHL Playoffs. He would miss the entire 2000-01 season because of post concussion syndrome.
Lindros was never the same player again and would call it a career after a disappointing season with Dallas in 2006-07. Lindros was built like a brick wall during his prime, but now he looks like he was built from one too many McDonald’s Big Mac’s.
7. Kevin Stevens
Kevin Stevens is evidence of how a decent player can become an excellent player when you play on a line with a legend like Mario Lemieux. Stevens recorded 555 points in just 522 games while with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He recorded just 171 points in a combined 352 games with Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. There is a good chance Stevens would have been a relatively unknown player if it wasn’t for Lemieux.
The success Stevens had with Pittsburgh may have been his ultimate downfall, especially off the ice. With all that success, came lots of money, which Stevens used to party. While still playing in the NHL, he entered a substance abuse program for alcohol and drug problems. His problems didn’t end once he retired, as in 2016 he was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. Knowing his troubled past, it’s not all that surprising he is currently not in the greatest physical shape to say the least.
6. Brad Park
Brad Park might have been one of the best defenseman to never win the Norris Trophy. The reason why he wasn’t able to win one was due to fact his best years came during Bobby Orr’s dominant run. Park could do it all: skate, hit, and score. His most productive season came with the New York Rangers in 1973-74, when he recorded a career high 82 points. He also showed his toughness that season by recording a 148 penalty minutes. Park retired after the 1984-85 campaign, having played 17 NHL seasons.
Park played during an era where being physically fit wasn’t nearly as important as it is today. Players in today’s NHL are expected to show up for training camp in tip top shape. When Park was playing, training camp was used as a way to get back into peak condition. With the way Park is looking today, he would need more than a few training camps to get back into shape
5. Bruce Boudreau
Bruce Boudreau has become famous in the hockey world for his success as a head coach in the NHL. However, most people don’t know that he had a very long career as a player and even spent good chunk of time in the NHL. Boudreau was an fantastic junior player, scoring an amazing 165 points in his final year with the Toronto Marlboros. Boudreau was never able to translate his talent to the NHL, mostly due to the fact that he lacked size. His career NHL totals were 70 points in 140 games, which is nothing too special. Although he struggled to score in the NHL, Boudreau was an elite minor league scorer. He scored at least 100 points in six different minor league seasons.
After Boudreau’s playing career wrapped up in 1992, he became a coach. After coaching for 16 seasons, he finally got his shot in the NHL with the Washington Capitals in 2007. It seems like the stress of being a head coach in the NHL has got to him a bit. Even the great Alexander Ovechkin poked fun at Boudreau’s weight after the coach benched him 2011.
4. Link Gaetz
Link Gaetz’ time in the NHL was very brief, but he still managed to leave a huge mark on the game as one of most colourful characters to ever play. If the word “Goon” was in the dictionary, you would find his face right beside it. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota North Stars with the 40th overall pick in 1988. Gaetz was drafted for his hands and we’re not talking about his stick handling skills. According to some of the NHL players he fought, nobody punched harder than Gaetz. Fortunately for the sake of other NHL players, Gaetz would only play a total of 65 NHL games in his career. His best season came during the 1991-92 season with the San Jose Sharks, where he managed to get into a career high 48 games and actually recorded 12 points. The more incredible stat was his amount of penalty minutes. Gaetz sat in the penalty box for a grand total of 326 minutes. If that was prorated to a full season, he would of crushed the previous single season penalty record of 472.
After being banished from the NHL, Gaetz would bring fear to the face of many players in the minor leagues, before hanging up his skates after the 2004-05 season. Gaetz was always a big boy at 240 pounds during his playing career, but a great deal of that was muscle, instead of the fat he carries today.
3. Peter Worrell
Peter Worrell will always be remembered for being one of toughest enforcers to ever play the game. He was an intimidating player if there ever was one. During his playing career he was listed as a monstrous 6’7″ and weighing in at 235 pounds. During his three seasons in junior, Worrell racked up an impressive 1,202 penalty minutes. When he made the transition over to the professional ranks, he kept the same tough guy mentality. In his first full season with the Florida Panthers, he registered 258 penalty minutes in just 62 games. In 2001-02, he led the entire NHL in penalty minutes with 354, which was 100 more than the next closest player.
When the NHL was in a lockout during the 2004-05 season, most NHL players played in the minors or in Europe. However, Worrell decided not to play at all, which would be the downfall of his career. He would be signed by the New York Rangers, but he was so unconditioned, weighing in at 275 pounds, that the Rangers sent him down to the ECHL. Worrell would finish his career down in the ECHL. It was clear the game was way too fast for him now. Since retiring, Worrell’s physical appearance has only gotten worse, as he looks like he would easily tip the scale at nearly 400 pounds today.
2. Eric Lacroix
Eric Lacroix built himself a decent NHL career as a solid checking line player. He first had stints with Toronto and Los Angeles, but wasn’t able to find any consistency. Once he made the move to Colorado, Lacroix found himself a permanent role in the NHL. He would play two of his best NHL seasons with the Avalanche. He scored a career high 18 goals and 36 points during the 1997-98 season. Despite finding success in Colorado, Lacroix was traded after just two seasons in Denver to the L.A. Kings. After playing just 27 games with the Kings, Lacroix found himself on the move again, this time to the Rangers. Although he stayed there for three seasons, his production was nowhere near the level that is was in Colorado.
Lacorix finished his career with a brief stint in Ottawa, before retiring after the 2000-01 season. For a guy who made a career for himself by being one of the hardest working players on the ice, it sure doesn’t look like he has worked hard since retiring. Since hanging up his skates, Lacroix has worked in hockey management, where it looks like he has gotten way to accustomed to sitting in a chair all day.
1. Keith Tkachuk
Perhaps no player in the history of the NHL has had their weight be the center of attention more than Keith Tkachuk. Although he had major weight problems later in his NHL career, his weight wasn’t a problem when he first entered the league with the Winnipeg Jets in 1991-92. It didn’t take too long before he established himself as one of the premier power forwards in the game, scoring 41 goals in just his second full NHL season. Tkachuk’s best seasons came in the desert while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes. During the 1996-97 season he scored a league high 52 goals, becoming the first American born player to lead the NHL in goals.
Tkachuk’s weight issues came to the forefront ahead of the 2005-06 season. He had sat out the entire 2004-05 season due the NHL lockout, which did him no good conditioning wise. The St. Louis Blues suspended Tkachuk after he failed a physical. He would be criticized about his weight until he retired in 2010.
With nobody on his back making sure he’s stays at healthy weight anymore, Tkachuk has let loose. It doesn’t look like he would able to take a lap around the rink anymore without stopping to catch his breath.
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