Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL 100: A Look at Europeans Who Have Made Their Mark on the NHL

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL 100: A Look at Europeans Who Have Made Their Mark on the NHL

Article excerpt

NHL 100: Europeans have made their mark on the NHL

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It's hard to imagine the National Hockey League without its European stars, but until the late 1970s, there were few players from outside North America in the world's top league.

The 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union opened many eyes to how far European hockey had come and the emergence of the World Hockey Association in the 1970s gave many a platform to show their skills.

Now there are Europeans on every NHL club.

In the latest edition of NHL 100, a weekly series from The Canadian Press, we look at Europeans who have made their mark.

ULF STERNER

The Swedish left-winger became the first European born and trained player to skate in the NHL when he joined the New York Rangers in 1964-65. He played only four games.

BORJE SALMING

The highly skilled defenceman became the first European to become an impact player in the NHL when he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1973. The Swede went on to play 1,148 games over 17 seasons and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

ANDERS HEDBERG AND ULF NILSSON

Any doubt that Europeans could shine in North America was dispelled by the Swedish duo that joined the WHA's Winnipeg Jets in 1974, skating on a line with superstar Bobby Hull. Both signed in 1978 with the Rangers.

VACLAV NEDOMANSKY

The Czechoslovak centre was 30 when he became the first player to defect from a Soviet Bloc country to play for the WHA's Toronto Toros. He jumped to the Detroit Red Wings in 1977 and played seven NHL seasons. …

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