Top 25 People Who Changed the NHL’s Business

There are some people who changed the NHL forever – for better or for worse. Here are our top 25 and for more info on latest NHL updates visit DocSports.

25 NHL Influencers

So who are these 25 people who changed the game? Let’s look more closely.

1 – Frank Calder

The first ever President of the league and responsible for the expansion to Canada.

2 – Maurice Richard

When he was temporarily suspended in the 50’s there were full blown riots in Montreal!

3 – Rene Fasel

Who took ice hockey to the Olympics and got it on the lists!

4 – Viacheslav Fetisov

Who decided to turn his back on Russia in order to play with the Devils! Such defiance!

5 – Willie O’Ree

The first coloured person to play in the NHL, as late as ’59.

6 – Marguerite Norris

The first female executive for the NHL – ever! She was President of the Red Wings for three years and made Hockey accessible to young women.

7 – Alan Eagleson

First director of the NHLPA – but years later he was put in jail for the lies he told in this position. He definitely had an impact on NHL business – just not for the right reasons!

8 – Doug Harvey

Worked with Ted Lindsay to form the first players association.

9 – Ted Lindsay

Worked with Doug Harvey to form the first NHL Players Association.

10 – Gordie Howe

Had a huge impact on the player’s Union.

11 – Don Ruck

In Essence, Ruck was the first marketing director of the NHL. Nowadays we can’t live without them!

12 – Gary Davidson

Davidson is somewhat responsible for the WHA which attracted new interest back in the 70’s.

13 – Ken McKenzie

Who was one of the founders of the Hockey News but was an executive for the NHL in the early days? A double-whammy!

14 – John Collins

Who drove the Winter Classic and Stadium Series to fruition in the early days.

15 – Clarence Campbell

When you are President for more than 30 years you have to have some influence.

16 – Donald Fehr

Fehr managed to bring the dysfunctional association together back-in-the-day.

17 – William Jennings

Made massive strides in expanding the NHL back in ’67.

18 – Don Meehan

Don has been an agent to NHL players for more than 30 years… that’s a huge contribution.

19 – Mario Lemieux

Who bought out the Penguins franchise and essentially saved them from extinction.

20 – Wayne Gretzky

Had so much of an influence on NHL business that he is still referred to as “the Great One”.

21 – Phil Esposito

Esposito brought the NHL to Tampa through persistence, dedication, and passion.

22 – John Ziegler

Who was President of the league when they merged with the World Hockey Association.

23 – Art Ross

Who made the puck more ergonomic and made nets better. Arguably, responsible for the game as we know it nowadays.

24 – Bob Goodenow

Union worker and player who helped multiple other players settle disputes over working rights.

25 – Gary Bettman

He was the Commissioner of the NHL for a full quarter of a century.

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.