What’s In An NHL Player’s Name? Could It Be Their Game?

Sidney Crosby (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Sidney Crosby (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the things that has always piqued my interest has been the awesomeness of hockey player names. After all, what’s in an NHL player’s name? Could it be their game? The research I did today left me thinking maybe more than we know. There are some unusual names in sports, but in hockey the difference is that the men are usually named for something, as in their names have meanings attached to them. In the United States we’ve kind of gotten away from this. We’re really into inventive spellings of names and heck just plain inventing names. I’ve been on this thinking tangent lately as one of the writers I work with has a unique and very cool name which I hadn’t heard of, so I took the liberty of researching his name. This guy’s name means sunrise or east, a very stable masculine name meaning. Even I was given a name with a special meaning. Just not cool enough to be an NHL name.

So instead of doing the usual and picking out the funniest or the oddest names in hockey, I’m going to pick out special names and tell you what they actually mean. Some of these guys’ parents did them a solid one on naming them. Let’s start with this week’s stars of the NHL.

This Week’s Shining Stars

Sidney Crosby: wide island or wide meadow. I’d say he’s been given a lot of wide open space to pursue his goals and he isn’t about to let people keep him from getting what he wants. His name is pretty vague, but it can be applied easily to hockey when you’re wide open to getting a hat trick so to speak.

Tomas Hertl Celebrates (Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)
Tomas Hertl Celebrates (Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

Tomas Hertl: twin. This fits so ironically this week, because the Rangers must have thought they were seeing two of him the other night when he scored four goals. And I have a suspicion that they didn’t like either of the Tomas’ they were seeing.

Semyon Varlamov
Varlamov with the Avs (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

Semyon Varlamov: he who hears. He has definitely heard those pucks coming his way and started off the Av’s in fine form the first two weeks of the season. Or possibly he’s afraid Coach Roy is going to rattle his mask, and he doesn’t want to hear what Roy has to say when he loses, especially after everyone saw how mad Roy got at Boudreau the first game?

Jean-Sebastien Giguere: serious and stable. Definite things the Av’s have found in Jean-Sebastien this week. He has certainly proved that. I’m still wondering about the fear of Roy though.

The Name Game For The Other Famed

Now that I’ve hit the stars of the week, I’ve picked out some other NHL players’ cool names with really special meanings.

Antti Niemi Sharks
Antti Niemi certainly proved that he was worth the money during his solid 2012-2013 NHL season. (Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE)

Annti Niemi: priceless, inestimable. You can’t help but wonder what factors his parents took into consideration in naming him this, and isn’t every child essentially priceless to their parents? The Sharks consider him close to priceless considering what he’s being paid.

Nail Yakopov: attainer, achiever. That’s a lot to lay on a boy, but as you know Nail has already achieved a lot. He comes from a heavy hockey background, so he’s got the talent. He’s very well named.

Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
Henrick Lundqvuist (bridgetds/Flickr)

Henrik Lundqvist: lord of the manor. When he’s at his best, he is lord of the manor behind the crease. This guy also is lord of the manor behind the camera too. He’s the eye candy of the hockey world for the NHL’s women’s fan base and pretty much every woman whose seen him in any print ad.

Jaromir Jagr: spring and peace. For a man with a few years on him, he certainly hasn’t lost any spring to his skating. Although I don’t think that’s what his name derivation means. Let’s hope for the Devil’s sake, spring brings them Jagr’s well known skills.

Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk (Andy Martin Jr)
Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk (Andy Martin Jr)

Pavel Datsyuk: humble. He comes off as one of the nicest guys in hockey, and has four Lady Byng Memorial Trophies to show for it. It mystifies me as to how his parents could have picked such a perfect name.

Peter Budaj: rock, stone. Peter’s another goalie whose name is appropriate. When he’s on his game he is a wall of stone no puck can pass.

Alexander Ovechkin(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Alexander Ovechkin(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Alexander Ovetchkin: defender of men. He certainly gives men a good name with his boyish good looks and his athletic skills. He certainly defends the Capitals. He’s Russia’s unofficial ambassador for the Olympics, so that’s a lot of men to defend.

Martin Brodeur (Andy Martin Jr)
Martin Brodeur (Andy Martin Jr)

Last but not least for you Martin Brodeur fans: war like. One of the most loved, enduring, and dedicated of all goalies in the NHL, I will admit Brodeur plays like he’s going to war every night he’s in the crease. I don’t know what the NHL will look like if he’s not here next year, but I hope for all goalie and Devil fans, we don’t have to find out so soon.

What’s In A Name? Probably A Lot More Than What We Might Like To Think, Or Not.

There is something special about names. I’m constantly surprised when people don’t know what their name means. Your name is part of your identity. It’s usually chosen carefully, It hopefully attempts to guide you toward a goal or a purpose. It separates you from the average. I had a student my first year of teaching and I caught his name as I was taking attendance and stopped for a second. His name was Rex. I asked him if he knew what his name meant, and he looked a but confused. I told him simply, “Your name means King.” So whenever he would drive me crazy later on, I would simply ask him if he remembered what his name meant, and he would blush, and reply very proudly, “King.” Because, he knew he was worth something if by name alone. Shakespeare may have said something to the effect that a rose by any other name would have smelled the same. Although, I can’t help but wonder if these NHL players had been named any other name, would they have achieved the same fame? Or would they play the same game?

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