ESPN’s 64-player “Greatest NHL Name” tournament bracket dropped this week and garnered the expected reaction from hockey fans: passion, amusement, obsession and countless people vehemently protesting that Slater Koekkoek should have been a No. 1 seed.
To recap, we took some of the greatest names to grace NHL ice — and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a Buffalo Sabres prospect whose name just couldn’t be denied — and grouped them into four regions:
Old-school region, with the players from yesteryear.
Modern North American region, with players from North America who were active for NHL franchises in the past dozen years.
Modern international region, with players from outside of North America who were active for NHL franchises in the past dozen years.
Actual objects region, with players whose names are, or sound like, actual things.
We’re not only looking for the most entertaining and whimsical player names, but ones that have the right amount of “hockey-ness” to them. Nicknames weren’t allowed — sorry, “Punch” Imlach. You can download the bracket here and play along.
Here is my bracket, completed after very careful consideration of our completely arbitrary criteria. Below is my justification from the Elite Eight to the championship: