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Who are the most loved players in your native country

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Old
10-22-2010, 03:52 PM
  #1
hannes_ko
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Who are the most loved players in your native country

If one is only interested in NHL hockey, it might come as a suprise that Finnish people love Raimo Helminen and Ville Peltonen as much or more than Jari Kurri or Teemu Selänne. I think that not many North Americans even remember Helminen's NHL career and only few know about his international records. Ville Peltonen is known as a so-so third liner in bad NHL teams, I guess.

If one would ask all 5 million people in Finland which hockey player they admire most I think Helminen would take the crown. He would get great share of votes from those people who are not that much into hockey. I think Saku Koivu would finish second. He gets love from both general public and die hard hockey fans. Teemu would come third. He is loved by my generation (25-35 year old people), but a lot of people think he is too easy going and a bit of a show-off. Some are guite envious and hate Selänne for being famous, rich and just a great guy.


Ville Peltonen would push for the third place and finish fourth. 1995 is a year us Finns will never forget. Ville scored the hat trick to win us our only Championship and that alone will be enough to finish above Jari Kurri. Kurri's problem is that he did his heroics in 80's back when most Finns would not get to see any of that action. He didn't play that much international games and you just can't win Finnish hearts with NHL goals alone.

Then there's of course Juti, our captain Timo Jutila. Great share of Finnish hockey fans hate his guts nowadays, but common man still thinks he's nothing less than a national hero.

Guys like Teppo Numminen and Jere Lehtinen are respected by the hard core hockey fans but have always been more in the background. Players like Jere Karalahti and Jarkko Immonen have cult status or huge local fan base, but can't compete with the big guys. Karalahti is mostly notorious, he is recognized and more of a tabloid celebrity than any other Finnish hockey player. Miikka Kiprusoff we just don't know and Olli Jokinen is more hated than loved.

Matti Hagman, Matti Keinonen, Aarne Honkavaara, Veli-Pekka Ketola and other stars form previous generations would get their share of the votes, but people tend to forget former greats.

So, how is it in Sweden, Russia, Czech and Slovakia? Would Jörgen Jönsson beat Daniel Alfredsson? Is Alexei Morozov more loved than Ilya Kovalchuck? Czech had great national teams in 1996 forwards, I bet some of the players in those teams are more loved than the others. In Slovakia the 2002 gold medal squad must be gods.

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Old
10-22-2010, 04:50 PM
  #2
begbeee
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Slovakia.

Miro Satan absolutely. He was in national team in every success, won SC and was a international beast. He scored very clutch goals in national team, he is great locker-room guy and is modest.

Very close to him is Peter Bondra. He scored game winner in 3-2 won over Russia in final game of WC and was most respected guy before gold era of Slovak hockey.

Lot of people may ask - why not Peter Stastny? He is to much controversial person due his opinions and political issues.

So Ziggy Palffy - he is respected as a player with talent from God, but he is quite dumb and he end his national career altough he continued in his career and then he cherrypicked a nomination on Olympci Games.

Very funny person is Jozef Golonka. His medial picture is something like Don Cherry, he is dumb, always with funny stories about himself.

But I have quite an interesting name - Richard "Lemon" Lintner - former Penguins player. I dont know why, but he was quite popular at the time in Slovakia. He was always smailing, not worry about TV interviews. He was popular.

I want not mention todays players because they are obvious choices - Hossa, Gaborik and Chara are very respected and of course Halakmania hit Slovakia, too.

But at the end:

Miro Satan is clear no.1 guy, Bondra is maybe little step behind and than are a few second tier guys in popularity.

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Old
10-22-2010, 05:26 PM
  #3
I Hate Chris Butler
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Sakic or Yzerman. Just some of the most iconic players that everyone in my age group grew up idolizing. I imagine for the older Canadians, it's probably Bobby Orr, or Mario and Wayne.

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10-22-2010, 05:33 PM
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SidGenoMario
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zach parise

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10-22-2010, 05:39 PM
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jkrx
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In Canada its Gretzky, Lemieux and local heroes.

In USA it really depends but my guess is one of the younger guys coming up now.

In Sweden, where I live now, Sundin and Forsberg is probably the most popular and ofcourse Salming.

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10-23-2010, 04:07 AM
  #6
Eisen
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Kühnhackl is the name in the Germany that still everyone knows.
Scoring at an insane pace, being the best player in the only medal we ever won at the Olympics, holding a ton of domestic records. Household name. One of the few sportsmen that is not known because of football^^

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10-23-2010, 05:52 AM
  #7
Mantha Poodoo
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USA: Noone cares about hockey

Seriously though, probably Miller after his Olympics performance.

Though I'm hoping some of the upcoming young guys like Parise get good exposure. If someone like Howard were to help a big name team like the Wings win a cup, it might do well for US hockey, too, just like Kane and the Hawks.

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Old
10-23-2010, 06:02 AM
  #8
Howe Elbows 9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hannes_ko View Post
So, how is it in Sweden, Russia, Czech and Slovakia? Would Jörgen Jönsson beat Daniel Alfredsson?
I imagine only a Färjestad supporter would clearly rank Jörgen ahead of Alfredsson. For someone who supports neither Färjestad or Frölunda (or Ottawa) it comes down to how important you think it is to play in international competition with Tre Kronor compared to success in North America. Some might rank Kenny Jönsson fairly high as well because of his dedication and consistently good play (whenever he could play, as Kenny had injury problems in the later stages of his career).

Many Swedish players have tried playing in North America with varying results. Forsberg, Salming, Sundin and Lidström are loved by many Swedish hockey fans.

Among the ones who mostly stayed in Sweden Leif Holmqvist is given a lot of respect and seen as one of the best goaltenders Sweden has produced. And as a Swedish hockey fan you should never miss an opportunity to mention Sven Tumba.

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10-23-2010, 06:41 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
In Canada its Gretzky, Lemieux and local heroes.

In USA it really depends but my guess is one of the younger guys coming up now.

In Sweden, where I live now, Sundin and Forsberg is probably the most popular and ofcourse Salming.
In Canada add Beliveau and, especially in Quebec, Rocket Richard.

Orr definitely in spite of playing for an American team.

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Old
10-23-2010, 07:06 AM
  #10
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What the... Helminen is not the most popular player in Finland, I mean, not even close.

Do a survey and most people will answer Saku Koivu.

Teemu is beloved too, but Saks takes this one.

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10-23-2010, 07:07 AM
  #11
heutZe
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Overall it's probably Espen Knutsen who is the most popular Norwegian player. Although recently Mats Zuccarello Aasen is getting a lot of love because of his play in the olympics and WC.

Jonas Holøs is getting some attention also, but he have been flying under the radar for most of his hockey-career.

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10-23-2010, 07:18 AM
  #12
DaveG
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US: Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, and probably the rest of that 1980 Olympic team roster.

Miller is the one player right now that comes closest to that group. Parise is up there too as well as Kane and the Johnsons.

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10-23-2010, 07:28 AM
  #13
Cams
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In Canada, it depends. Historically you'd have to say Paul Henderson after scoring the winner in '72 againt Russia. But then there is the obvious - Gretzky, Mario, Orr. Not to sound like I am bragging, but it is hard to peg a "most popular" player in Canada, as there is so much history, and so many hall of famers the stretch from the early 1900s until today. Mind you, most of the success is NHL related, as until recently, our national team consisted of non-NHL players. This makes it totally different than what our Eurpoean friends relate to when choosing their most popular.

For the US - where does Mike Eruzione (did I spell it right?) stand, or guys like Brian Leetch, Joe Mullen, Modano, etc.....

From a Canadian perspective - I would think in Sweden it would be Borje Salming, or more recent guys like Sundin, Forsberg. Borje is an NHL legend - pretty much opened the door for Swedes to come over and play NHL hockey, plus he (if I am not mistaken) has a pretty distinguished international record too.

By the way - to whoever mentioned Kuhnhakl for Germany, I've got the pleasure now of watching his son play here in Windsor. Slow start, but he is on fire right now. He has size, pretty good skating, and a very good shot too!

For Russia - Is Tretiak the number one guy?

Lastly, a question for the Finnish fans... Kind of not related to hockey, but where does Kimi Raikkonen stand in terms of sporting status in his native Finland? Great F1 driver, and seems to find the party scene (or at least did).

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Old
10-23-2010, 07:31 AM
  #14
hannes_ko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herzeleid View Post
What the... Helminen is not the most popular player in Finland, I mean, not even close.
I knew people would disagree about Helminen, but I won't change my mind easily.

While Koivu is very popular, Helminen is more of a public figure, more than just a hockey player. Everyone has seen Raipe in TV shows being the humble and quiet guy he is believed to be. A lot of Finns hate hockey and think it gets too much exposure but they still think Helminen is a great man.

Finland is full of little rural towns and villages where track and field and cross country skiing are far more popular sports than hockey. I know a lot of people who hate hockey but respect Helminen. I bet Koivu would win if the survey would take place in towns which have either SM-league or Mestis teams but the grandpas and grandmas of Pihtipudas think otherwise.

Thanks for the info about Lintner and Holmqvist, keep 'em coming. I was pretty sure Knutsen and Kühnhackl are popular in Norway and Germany so I didn't include those countries in my original post, but of course all that information is much appreciated.

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10-23-2010, 07:46 AM
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DaveG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cams View Post
For the US - where does Mike Eruzione (did I spell it right?) stand, or guys like Brian Leetch, Joe Mullen, Modano, etc.....
Almost forgot that Modano was still playing , yeah he's high up on the popularity list. It was much higher in his prime but he's still a pretty iconic figure for US hockey. Same goes with Leetch and Chelios who are both rightfully regarded as legends of US hockey. Mullen I don't recall ever reaching a huge popularity like the others.

Another name I forgot that's high on any US list: Hobey Baker.
edit: and another name I forgot. Pat LaFonatine. He was arguably one of the most popular hockey players in the US (and by far the most popular US born one) in his prime.


Last edited by DaveG: 10-23-2010 at 08:40 AM.
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10-23-2010, 07:59 AM
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unknown33
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Thomas Vanek.

I get the impression that most people who don't follow the NHL at all or aren't into hockey in general believe that he is one of the best players in the world.

Fairly overrated round here.

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10-23-2010, 08:12 AM
  #17
jkrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosbyfan View Post
In Canada add Beliveau and, especially in Quebec, Rocket Richard.

Orr definitely in spite of playing for an American team.
Sure, Orr. But the other isn't as popular in general. I would count Richard as local which I pointed out in my post with:

Quote:
In Canada its Gretzky, Lemieux and local heroes.

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Old
10-23-2010, 09:28 AM
  #18
begbeee
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[qutoe=heutZe]Overall it's probably Espen Knutsen who is the most popular Norwegian player. Although recently Mats Zuccarello Aasen is getting a lot of love because of his play in the olympics and WC.
Jonas Holøs is getting some attention also, but he have been flying under the radar for most of his hockey-career.[/quote]
Yes, Espen Knutsen is the synonym of Norwegian hockey in hockey world. But I would say as Slovak fan, Tore VIKINGstadt should be popular, too

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10-23-2010, 09:44 AM
  #19
jkrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
[qutoe=heutZe]Overall it's probably Espen Knutsen who is the most popular Norwegian player. Although recently Mats Zuccarello Aasen is getting a lot of love because of his play in the olympics and WC.
Jonas Holøs is getting some attention also, but he have been flying under the radar for most of his hockey-career.
Yes, Espen Knutsen is the synonym of Norwegian hockey in hockey world. But I would say as Slovak fan, Tore VIKINGstadt should be popular, too [/QUOTE]

Vikingstad should be the most popular player. To me he is a better player than "Schampoo". Tollefsen is a personal favorite.

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10-23-2010, 12:30 PM
  #20
MXD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
Sure, Orr. But the other isn't as popular in general. I would count Richard as local which I pointed out in my post with:
The thing is -- he might just be the most loved player in the whole country. He'd be way ahead of Lemieux for sure.

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10-23-2010, 12:46 PM
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pappyline
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The thing is -- he might just be the most loved player in the whole country. He'd be way ahead of Lemieux for sure.
Are you referring to Richard? He certainly didn't have much love outside of Quebec.

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10-23-2010, 01:07 PM
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I don't think there is any Swedish player that gets even close to Forsberg in terms of popularity. The "stamp goal" from 94 is the Swedish "Paul Henderson-moment", Forsberg could have turned out to be a pretty mediocre NHL-player after that goal and still be one of the most loved athletes in Sweden. Everything he ever did after that just made his popularity even larger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unknown33 View Post
Thomas Vanek.

I get the impression that most people who don't follow the NHL at all or aren't into hockey in general believe that he is one of the best players in the world.

Fairly overrated round here.
Well he was the highest paid player for a year at least.

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Old
10-23-2010, 01:26 PM
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Fredrik_71
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Just wanna add that in Sweden the finn Esa Keskinen is respected and loved as no other finn. Atleast where I'm from.

Tumba, Lidstrom and Forsberg are probable the most loved swedes (on a national level) depending on who you ask.

/Cheers

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10-23-2010, 01:52 PM
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MXD
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Quote:
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Are you referring to Richard? He certainly didn't have much love outside of Quebec.
Indeed, but his "most popular player tag" here (inQC) is much more "unanimous" than any other(inCan). Meaning that, in a country-wide "poll", he'd feature really well (and probably better than Lemieux).

Geez, the guy had a movie about him.

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10-23-2010, 02:10 PM
  #25
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All the Canadian guys have been named, though it'll certainly depend where you are. Quebec, I'd imagine Maurice Richard is the most beloved. I was at Chris Neil's hometown at a time, and he is definitely the most beloved player there by far.

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