GWMHL

Final Passing of the Torch: Meet the “Original 5”

In Special Features on December 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Thousands of players have come and gone from the GWMHL ranks over the two decades of the league’s existence.

Some were difference makers. Others were Juha Ylonen.

But only a select few have been in the league since the very beginning, and that number is dwindling fast. In fact, the GWMHL is approaching a major milestone in its history: the start of an era in which no original players remain.

Fifteen players – and no goalies – played in both the GWMHL’s inaugural season in 1993 and the most recent season in 2010-2011:

Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Bill Guerin, Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Kovalev, Niklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Scott Niedermayer, Owen Nolan, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Darryl Sydor, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney

Three of those 15 – Owen Nolan, Adam Foote, and Rob Blake – missed at least one season during their careers to free agency or injury:

Rob BlakeAdam Foote, Bill Guerin, Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Kovalev, Niklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Scott Niedermayer, Owen Nolan, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Darryl Sydor, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney

That leaves 12 players who saw action in all 17 seasons to date. But four of those 12 retired at the end of this past season:

Bill Guerin, Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Kovalev, Niklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Scott Niedermayer, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Darryl SydorKeith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney

…And we’re down to eight. Eight players who could potentially extend their streak to 18 GWMHL season.

Three are currently free agents – Doug Weight, Alexei Kovalev, and Mike Modano. Maybe they’ll sign on with a team at midseason and maybe not. Assuming they don’t, that leaves us with:

Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Kovalev, Niklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney

Five active players who have played in every GWMHL season including the current one, our 18th:

Roman Hamrlik, Nashville
Niklas Lidstrom, Great Lakes
Mark Recchi, San Francisco
Teemu Selanne, El Dorado
Ray Whitney, Winnipeg

Recchi has made his retirement intentions known, and this will be his last season. By 2012-2013, the list will number four. As ageless as the Lidstroms and Selannes seem to be, they’ll retire eventually – and that day will mark a new era in league history.

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