NHL 100: From Chicoutimi Cucumber to Pocket Rocket, NHL has memorable nicknames

NHL 100: A weekly look at 100 years of hockey

From the Chicoutimi Cucumber to the Pocket Rocket, NHL players have been tagged with nicknames that run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. In the latest edition of NHL 100, a weekly series from The Canadian Press, we look at just a few memorable nicknames:



Henri Richard has a Stanley Cup ring for each finger and still has one more to put in his pocket.

But that’s not how the Hall of Fame forward picked up his nickname.

Richard became known as the “Pocket Rocket” as he was three inches shorter and 15 years younger than brother Maurice (Rocket) Richard.

Maurice’s nickname was coined by Montreal Canadiens teammate Ray Getliffe after he was wowed by the Rocket’s speed on the ice.



Stu Grimson was one of the NHL’s most intimidating enforcers in the 1990s.

With his surname providing the perfect touch, “The Grim Reaper” was indeed a scary sight for opposing players.

At a menacing six foot five and 239 pounds, Grimson dropped the gloves at will.

He spent over a decade in the league, finishing with 39 career points and a whopping 2,113 penalty minutes.



Some nicknames are adored while others make players wince.

It didn’t help matters for Andre (Red Light) Racicot that his nickname rolls so nicely off the tongue.

The red light behind the Montreal Canadiens net actually wasn’t turned on as often as you might think when Racicot was in goal.

His career goals-against average was a middling 3.50. It just seemed like pucks were going in more often because he was a backup to star goalie Patrick Roy.



Sometimes the best nicknames are the simple ones.

Gordie Howe could do it all on the ice and so “Mr. Hockey” was a perfect fit.

Howe had one of the most well-rounded games the sport has ever seen.

He was a top scorer and leader while boasting a physical game few could match over 26 NHL seasons.



Netminder Georges Vezina remained remarkably calm on the ice, no matter what the opposition had in store.

The native of Chicoutimi, Que., was smooth, efficient, and as the nickname suggests, cool as a cucumber between the pipes.

Vezina played 328 consecutive regular-season games for the Montreal Canadiens.

The NHL’s annual award for the best goaltender — the Vezina Trophy — bears his name.


Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. 


Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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