List of countries with their first National Hockey League player

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The globalization of National Hockey League has been occurring since its inception. The early years saw a largely Canadian league, with some Americans playing. As the league progressed it experienced an influx of European players, at first from Western European countries, such as Sweden. After the fall of Communism, players from Eastern European countries, such as the former Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union, joined the league. The NHL eventually saw fewer European players, but more players from Canada and the United States. Today the NHL has players from five continents. The following is a list of countries and the first person born there that played in the National Hockey League. These players are not necessarily the first citizen of each respective country to play in the NHL, as nationality is determined under a nation's nationality law and may differ.

Most statistical sources in the sport follow the convention of the Hockey Hall of Fame in classifying players by the currently existing countries in which their birthplaces are located.

Current countries[edit]

Country of birth Name Debut Year
Austria Reinhard Divis[1] 2001–02[2]
The Bahamas Andre Deveaux[3] 2008–09[4]
Belarus Alexander Andrijevski[note 1] 1992–93[5]
Belgium Jan Benda[6] 1997–98[7]
Brazil Mike Greenlay 1989–90[8]
Brunei Craig Adams[note 2] 2000–01[9]
Canada Multiple: most participants of the first NHL game were Canadian born 1917–18[10]
Croatia Goran Bezina[note 3] 2003–04[11]
Czech Republic Jaroslav Jirik[note 4][12] 1969–70[13]
Denmark Poul Popiel 1965–66[14]
Estonia Leo Komarov[15][note 5] 2012–13[16]
Finland Albert Pudas[17][note 6] 1926–27[18]
France Andre Peloffy 1974–75[19]
Germany Walt Tkaczuk[20][note 7] 1967–68[21]
Haiti Claude Vilgrain[22] 1987–88[23]
Indonesia Richie Regehr 2005–06[24]
Italy Nelson DeBenedet 1973–74[25]
Jamaica Graeme Townshend[26] 1989–90[27]
Japan Yutaka Fukufuji[28] 2006–07[29]
Kazakhstan Nik Antropov[note 8] 1999–2000[30]
Latvia Helmuts Balderis[note 9] 1989–90[31]
Lebanon Ed Hatoum[32] 1968–69[33]
Lithuania Darius Kasparaitis[note 10] 1992–93[34]
Netherlands Ed Kea 1973–74[35]
Nigeria Rumun Ndur[36] 1996–97[37]
Norway Bill Johansen 1949–50[38]
Paraguay Willi Plett 1975–76[39]
Poland Joe Jerwa[note 11] 1930–31[40]
Republic of China (Taiwan) Rod Langway[41] 1978–79[42]
Russia Sweeney Schriner[note 12][43] 1934–35[44]
Serbia Stan Smrke[45][note 13] 1956–57[46]
Slovakia Stan Mikita[note 14] 1958–59[47]
Slovenia Anze Kopitar[48][note 15] 2006–07[49]
South Africa Olaf Kolzig 1989–90[50]
South Korea Jim Paek[51] 1990–91[52]
Sweden Gus Forslund[53] 1932–33[54]
Switzerland Mark Hardy 1979–80[55]
Tanzania Chris Nielsen 2000–01[56]
United Kingdom Joe Hall[57] 1917–18[58]
United States George Geran 1917–18[59]
Ukraine Vic Hoffinger[note 16] 1927–28[60]
Venezuela Rick Chartraw[61] 1974–75[62]

Former countries[edit]

Country Name Debut Year
Czechoslovakia Anton Stastny
Peter Stastny
1980–81[63][64]
East Germany Udo Kiessling[65] 1981–82[66]
England Joe Hall[67] 1917–18[58]
Newfoundland[note 17] Alex Faulkner 1961–62[68]
Northern Ireland Sammy McManus 1934–35[69]
Russian Empire[note 18] Vic Hoffinger 1927–28[60]
Scotland George Carey 1919–20[70]
Slovak Republic (1939–1945)[note 19] Stan Mikita[71] 1958–59[47]
Soviet Union Victor Nechayev[72] 1982–83[73]
Wales Wilf Cude[74] 1931–32[75]
West Germany Willie Huber 1978–79[76]
Yugoslavia, Kingdom of[note 20] Stan Smrke[77] 1956–57[46]
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of[note 21] Ivan Boldirev[78] 1970–71[79]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Andrijevski was technically born in the Byelorussian SSR of the former USSR, which became the country of Belarus in 1991.
  2. ^ Adams was technically born in Brunei prior to its independence from the UK, while it was still a protectorate
  3. ^ Bezina was technically born in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in the territory now known as Croatia.
  4. ^ Jirik was technically born in the former area of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia which was part of Nazi Germany. It occupied most of the territory now known as the Czech Republic.
  5. ^ Komarov was technically born in the Estonian SSR of the former USSR, which became the country of Estonia in 1991.
  6. ^ Pudas was technically born in the former area of the Grand Duchy of Finland which was part of the Russian Empire. It occupied the territory now known as Finland.
  7. ^ Tkaczuk was born in the Bizone, the combination of the American and British occupation zones of Germany following the defeat of the Nazi regime in World War II.
  8. ^ Antropov was technically born in the Kazakh SSR of the former USSR, which became the country of Kazakhstan in 1991.
  9. ^ Balderis was technically born in the Latvian SSR of the former USSR, which became the country of Latvia in 1990.
  10. ^ Kasparaitis was technically born in the Lithuanian SSR of the former USSR, which became the country of Lithuania in 1990.
  11. ^ Jerwa was technically born in the former country of the Russian Empire, in territory that is now known as Poland.
  12. ^ Schriner was technically born in the former country of the Russian Empire, in territory that is now Russia.
  13. ^ Smrke was technically born in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in territory that is now known as Serbia.
  14. ^ Mikita was technically born in the Slovak Republic (1939-1945), a puppet state of Nazi Germany which occupied most of the territory now known as Slovakia.
  15. ^ Kopitar was technically born in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in territory that is now Slovenia.
  16. ^ Hoffinger was technically born in the Russian Empire, in territory now known as the Ukraine
  17. ^ Not to be confused with the modern day Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  18. ^ Not to be confused with modern day Russia.
  19. ^ Not to be confused with modern day Slovakia.
  20. ^ Not to be confused with either the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  21. ^ Not to be confused with either the Kingdom of Yugoslavia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The 2011 Invitees: Part One in a Two-Part Epic
  2. ^ Reinhard Divis
  3. ^ Andre Deveaux
  4. ^ Andre Deveaux
  5. ^ Alexander Andrijevski
  6. ^ SIHR – Global Hockey Facts: Belgium
  7. ^ Jan Benda
  8. ^ Mike Greenlay
  9. ^ Craig Adams
  10. ^ Rosters of First NHL game
  11. ^ Goran Bezina
  12. ^ First Czech NHL player dies in plane crash
  13. ^ Jaroslav Jirik
  14. ^ Poul Popiel
  15. ^ Johnston on Leafs: Holzer making most of chance
  16. ^ Leo Komarov
  17. ^ Albert Pudas
  18. ^ Albert Pudas
  19. ^ Andre Peloffy
  20. ^ LA Kings News Clips 12–23–10
  21. ^ Walt Tkaczuk
  22. ^ Earthquake hits home for Vilgrain
  23. ^ Claude Vilgrain
  24. ^ Richie Regehr
  25. ^ Nelson DeBenedet
  26. ^ Harris, Cecil (2005). Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey. Toronto: Insomniac Press. p. 153. ISBN 1894663802. 
  27. ^ Graeme Townshend
  28. ^ Yutaka Fukufuji
  29. ^ Yutaka Fukufuji
  30. ^ Nik Antropov
  31. ^ Helmut Balderis
  32. ^ Ed Hatoum
  33. ^ Ed Hatoum
  34. ^ Darius Kasparaitis
  35. ^ Ed Kea
  36. ^ Rumun Ndur
  37. ^ Rumun Ndur
  38. ^ Bill Johansen
  39. ^ Willi Plett
  40. ^ Joe Jerwa
  41. ^ Rod Langway
  42. ^ Rod Langway
  43. ^ Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: The ultimate A–Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. p. 770. ISBN 0-385-25999-9. 
  44. ^ Sweeney Schriner
  45. ^ Stan Smrke
  46. ^ a b Stan Smrke
  47. ^ a b Stan Mikita
  48. ^ Malkin not lock as NHL's no. 1 rookie
  49. ^ Anze Kopitar
  50. ^ Olaf Kolzig
  51. ^ Can I Play, Too?; Korean Athletes In U.S. Sports; Jim Paek, the First Korean to Hoist the Stanley Cup
  52. ^ Jim Paek
  53. ^ Swedish Ice Hockey Year By Year
  54. ^ Gus Forslund
  55. ^ Mark Hardy
  56. ^ Chris Nielsen
  57. ^ Joe Hall
  58. ^ a b Joe Hall
  59. ^ George Geran
  60. ^ a b Vic Hoffinger
  61. ^ Rick Chartraw
  62. ^ Rick Chartraw
  63. ^ Anton Stastny
  64. ^ Peter Stastny
  65. ^ Udo Kiessling
  66. ^ Udo Kiessling
  67. ^ Joe Hall
  68. ^ Alex Faulkner
  69. ^ Sammy McManus
  70. ^ George Carey
  71. ^ NHL Great Stan Mikita Has Oral Cancer
  72. ^ Victor Nechayev
  73. ^ Victor Nechayev
  74. ^ Wilf Cude
  75. ^ Wilf Cude
  76. ^ Willie Huber
  77. ^ Stan Smrke
  78. ^ Ivan Boldirev
  79. ^ Ivan Boldirev

See also[edit]

List of NHL statistical leaders by country