Originally published in July of 2015, this post has stood the test of time. We feel many of our new fans will enjoy it.
The NHL has seen its fair share of evolution when it comes to celebrating goals. If you watch video of Jean Beliveau or Gordie Howe scoring back in the 1960s, you’ll see a very tame couple of glove taps with their teammates, and maybe a hug.
With time, hockey celebrations have become more and more flamboyant. Some time in the late 80s or early 90s, the skate-by fist bump with your teammates on the bench became the norm after scoring. Today’s latest innovations include the glass-jump and massive fist pump on one knee.
Throughout the years, a number of celebrations have stuck out as memorable. Most only happened once, but they’ll never be forgotten. There are also a few so obscure you’ve probably never seen them. But once you do, you’ll never forget them.
There were so many great options to choose from, it was very difficult to boil it down to just 10. The result is a combination of the most creative, funny, historic, and unique celebrations we’ve seen in hockey.
THW’s Top 10 Hockey Celebrations
#10. Hartnell’s Score & Fight
It’s well known that Scott Hartnell and Dion Phaneuf don’t like each other. Hartnell went as far as to talk trash during the All Star Game in 2012 with the famous “Suck It, Phaneuf” after scoring a goal. They’ve fought twice as well. Seconds after Phaneuf delivered Hartnell into the boards with a questionable hit, he put one past James Reimer.
His first thought was to immediately fight Phaneuf, instead of celebrating.
#9. The Jagr Salute
It’s simple, but it’s something that only Jagr is famous for. There have been a few players that have mockingly done the salute when playing Jagr’s teams, but more often than not, Jagr got the last laugh. It is not a military salute that Jagr is copying, he simply liked it when he saw Terrell Davis do it for the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Among the top ten players of all time, he’s the only one known for having his own unique celebration.
#8. Milan Hejduk Goes For a Swim
Certainly on the goofier side of things, Hejduk’s dive-and-swim at center ice after scoring an overtime winner is frequently cited as one of the best of all-time. Hejduk said he didn’t plan it, but started swimming “out of pure joy and happiness”.
#7. Bobby Orr’s Flying Goal
This celebration gave birth to probably the most iconic, recognizable hockey photo of all-time. Orr flying through the air, parallel to the ice, hands-out after scoring the goal that would win the Stanley Cup for the Bruins.
#6. Kamloops Blazers Channel NHL 94
This one is underrated, and goes back to the early days of NHL video games. In its infancy, NHL 94 featured one basic celebration when your team scored a goal. It was two hands on the stick above your head, pumping it up and down with your knees bent.
The Blazers, a team in the WHL, decided to make it their team celebration after a win. It looks goofy, but seeing a whole team do it is undeniably funny.
#5. Mike Eruzione’s Miracle
While most celebrations of old were more understated, there were a few notable exceptions to the rule. For especially big goals, it was tradition that the scoring team’s bench would empty to congratulate the player who scored.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger goal in hockey history than the one Mike Eruzione scored to give Team USA a 4-3 lead over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. By the time the camera pans to the bench just a few seconds after Eruzione scored, every skater had already jumped onto the ice.
#4. Theo Fleury Loses It
Few men played the game with the degree of passion and intensity of Theo Fleury. Hated by many, you couldn’t deny his commitment. When he scored this overtime game-winner against the Oilers in 1991, he absolutely lost it.
Years later, Nail Yakupov repeated a similar celebration when he scored the second goal of his career in 2013.
3. Tiger Williams Takes a Ride
Normally, you’d be asking for a beating from the other team if you did this celebration because of how obnoxious it is. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone willing to go after Tiger Williams. Nobody has more penalty minutes in the history of the NHL than Williams, whose 3,966 trump 2nd place Dale Hunter by 401.
#2. Ric Del Basso Uses His Head
The Australian Ice Hockey League isn’t known for much, but it does have one of the funniest celebrations in hockey to its credit. I can’t imagine an NHL player ever attempting this due to the risk of injury and how angry it would make the opponent, but who knows?
#1. Selanne the Sharpshooter
In 1993 at the age of 22, Teemu Selanne arrived in North America with a bang. He scored 76 goals that season, shattering the rookie record and leading the entire league that year. When he scored goal #54 to break Mike Bossy’s record, he gave us perhaps the most memorable celebration in history.