Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Top 5 all-time longest NHL careers
Longevity in the NHL is not only a testament to a player's abilities; it is also a display of supreme physical conditioning. Ice hockey is a demanding sport that requires speed, strength and endurance. In order to be able to compete each night, you need to be in the best physical shape possible. In order to be allowed to compete on a regular basis for many years, you need to be a very special player. Here is a look at the top 5 players with the most NHL games played in a career. It is not unusual to find Stanley Cup championships and Hall of Fame enshrinement attached to players with NHL longevity.
5) Dave Andreychuk - 1,639 games. Dave Andreychuk's career started as a first round draft pick in 1982-1983 with the Buffalo Sabres and ended in 2005-2006 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his career he played with six different teams and had a second stint with the Buffalo Sabres again in 2000-2001. He was part of 18 playoff seasons and won the Stanley Cup in 2003-2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
4) Chris Chelios(notes) - 1,651 games. Chris Chelios' career started in 1983-1984 with the Montreal Canadiens and spanned 26 years until his retirement in 2009-2010 as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers. He was part of the Montreal Canadiens 1985-1986 Stanley Cup winning team and won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in 2001-2001 and 2007-2008. He was a four-time member of the USA Olympic hockey team and participated as a member of Team USA in three Canada Cup tournaments.
3) Ron Francis - 1,731. Ron Francis was a hard-nosed high-scoring center that played 1,731 NHL games along with 171 NHL playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup twice as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins; first in 1990-1991 and then again in 1991-1992. He entered the NHL at the age of 18 and then retired just prior to his 41st birthday. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
2) Mark Messier - 1,765. It was obvious that Mark Messier owed his success to a strong drive to win and the fact that he always kept himself in great physical shape. In 25 NHL seasons he only played for three teams; the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He won the Stanley Cup five times with the Edmonton Oilers throughout the 1980's, and then led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1993-1994. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
1) Gordie Howe - 1,767. Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe's career took place over the span of five decades from 1946 until it ended in 1980. He remains the only player to play NHL hockey in five different decades, and he only played for two NHL teams; the Detroit Red Wings and the Hartford Whalers. He is a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
"Career Stats - Games Played," NHL.com
"Hockey Reference," hockey-reference.com
More from this contributor:
*Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.