Hockey might not have been an American sport from the beginning, but the country knows how to leave a mark. Before the 1980s, you could only find a few native American players. Still, with the game gaining momentum in the United States, more players are emerging from different states like Michigan and Minnesota. Here are the top three American NHL players of all time.

1. Chris Chelios

Chelios began a great hockey career with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1983-84 season, which went on till the 2009-10 season. By the time he retired, Chris Chelios was 48 years old. Although known as one of the most creative defensemen in his time, Chelios began his career playing several offence positions. He won three Norris Trophies and three Stanley Cups during his NHL stint.

2. Mike Modano

Born and growing up in Michigan, Mike Modano spent over 20 years of his career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars. He was the number one pick during the 1988 NHL draft. He only played one season in Detroit before he retired. When it comes to scoring records among American hockey players, Modano stands out with 1374 points and 561 goals in 1499 NHL games.

3. Brian Leetch

After being part of the 1988 Olympics, Leetch started his 18-year professional hockey career with the New York Rangers, making his way to the Hall of Fame. He was the Calder Trophy winner in 1989 and took home the Norris Trophy twice as the top defenseman in the NHL. Leetch became the very first native American player to become the league’s playoff MVP and win the Conn Smythe Award. He helped lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup during the 1993-1994 playoffs; their first in 54 years.


Many say that American players are not that great, but the three above prove otherwise. With outstanding records, you will always find them mentioned amongst the best in the country and beyond.