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Over the weekend, a number of college hockey games were played at Fenway Park, including one between Boston University and UMass.
A guy on the latter team who scored the first goal for the Minutemen was named Griff Jeszka, which is the most Star Wars-sounding name I have ever heard in real life.
In general, Star Wars names sound really cool, so that’s not a knock on him. Lando Calrissian. Han Solo. Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Boba Fett. These are good names.
(Okay, Shmi Skywalker not so much.)
There’s something about Star Wars universe names that stand out. They tend to run short of syllables (most names are only ever one or two), favor weird uses of Y in place of other vowels (Jyn Erso), spell more common names a little strangely (Saw Gerrera), use diminutives (Luke Skywalker), and sometimes use nouns in place of actual names (Wedge Antilles). These are general conventions, at least in the movies. In the books and comics you get names like — I swear this is true — Mitth’raw’nuruodo. Sure everyone called him Grand Admiral Thrawn. You see the deal here.
(And no, I will not be making any Kessel Run jokes. Don’t even ask.)
But here’s the thing: There are a lot of great names in hockey as well. So I figure why don’t I do two things I like best: Thinking about Star Wars and hockey.
Here are 30 NHL players with very ‘Star Wars’ names:
30 – Deron Quint
29 – Hub Macey
You’re going to find, in general, that a lot of these names are from guys who played a very, very long time ago. They had Star Wars names on lock back then. Hub (short for Hubert but it works better if it’s Hub) played 30 NHL games in the early and mid-1940s.
28 – Slava Voynov
Honestly not too many Eastern European names really strike one as being particularly Star Wars-y but I think the “Slava” rather than “Vyacheslav” gets him in the right neighborhood.
27 – Krys Barch
K- instead of a Ch- and Y instead of an I? Hell yeah.
26 – Jarkko Ruutu
I think it’s the double K and double U that does it here. It might have been the informant Cassian Andor killed to get away from the stormtroopers on the Ring of Kafrene.
25 – Moe L’Abbe
I know they’re no longer canonical but the Expanded Universe books used to lean heavy on last names with apostrophes in them. Moe L’Abbe is a classic out of Heir to the Empire.
24 – Ty Conklin
23 – Brad Fast
A few years ago there was an anecdote in a huge Game Informer story about why LucasArts fell apart, and one former worker at the game company imparted the story about George Lucas saw action from a game in development. He said he didn’t like the main character’s name, noting, “When he jumps on stuff, he moves pretty fast. I like B.J. Dart.’” I mean that’s classic George Lucas saying something dumb and no one saying, “This is not a good idea.” Anyway, former AHLer Brad Fast was absolutely Lucas’s fallback there.
22 – Keegan Kanzig
Speaking of which, Calgary Flames draft pick Keegan Kanzig is 100 percent the name of a side character in The Force Unleashed.
21 – Cam Neely
20 – Ramzi Abid
Now we’re getting into the really good ones.
19 – Teemu Selanne
It would have to be pronounced “Tee-moo” and not “Tay-moo” but this is for sure a Star Wars name.
18 – Prab Rai
This is a former Seattle Thunderbird who played in the ECHL as recently as 2014-15. He also worked under Mon Mothma in the Imperial Senate.
17 – Bing Juckes
This is almost too on-the-nose as a Star Wars name.
16 – Syl Apps
One of the few players in both the Hockey and Star Wars Halls of Fame.
15 – Beat Forster
Beat was a 2001 third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes who has never played in any league other than those in his native Switzerland. And Tosche Station.
14 – Nino Niederreiter
Honestly I guess you could just take half the Swiss players who have ever played. Their names are all this kind of nondescript brand of interesting and fun.
13 – Bo Elik
Another old-time guy, born 1929. He only got three NHL games and no points, but he was nearly a point-a-game player in the AHL for half a decade and used to run with Dash Rendar before that unfortunate business with IG-88 on Ord Mantell.
12 – Pit Lepine
Sure his real first name is Alfred, but he went by Pit and won two Cups with the Canadiens. He retired 36 years before the first Star Wars film came out.
11 – Hal Laycoe
Hal Laycoe was the first coach of the Vancouver Canucks but far more interesting is that he spent nearly a decade coaching a WHL team called the Portland Buckaroos. The Winterhawks need to get up to speed and change their name.
10 – Tie Domi
9 – Punch Imlach
8 – Turk Broda
Three right in a row where it’s just perfect Star Wars-ing.
7 – Lude Check
Lude Check was born in 1919 and played 27 NHL games. But get this: His full first name was Ludic. That’s a masterpiece.
6 – Hugh Plaxton
I’d be a little more enthusiastic if the first name was spelled Hew or something, but the last name is unimpeachably George Lucas.
5 – Baz Bastien
After he retired from a brief career as an AHL goaltender in 1949, Baz Bastien had a professional rivalry with the Hutt crime family before transitioning into legitimate business and serving as a long-time GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
4 – Cap Raeder
The daring rebel pilot Cap Raeder is in Episode 8 I’m pretty sure.
3 – Rogie Vachon
2- Willi Plett
Unkar Plutt is spelling his damn name wrong.
1 – Udo Kiessling
Here’s an East German player who got one game for the North Stars in 1981-82 and otherwise played in the German league forever. He also went to five Olympics when he wasn’t running contraband for Kanjiklub.