A Brief History of the Hockey Phenom

So far, the NHL’s “Next One” has handled it all beautifully. Of course, the hard part hasn’t really started yet for Connor McDavid. Then again, maybe getting out there on the ice against real NHL competition, even at the age of 18, will be the easy part for McDavid. How good is he? “This guy is a special kid,” said NHL superstar Steven Stamkos the other day. “I think he’s better than me right now.”

McDavid (who trained with Stamkos for much of the summer) respectfully disagrees. “That’s obviously one of the nicest compliments,” he said, “but I don’t think that’s really true.”


“He’s definitely way ahead of where I was at 18,” Stamkos insisted. Sidney Crosby, who met McDavid briefly this summer and entered the NHL in 2005 with similar hype, says: “I think he’s got things figured out pretty early on. I understand that the expectations are high, but he looks like a guy who is going to be able to deliver on them.”

What follows is an admittedly hit-and-miss history of hockey phenoms in headlines…

Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, PA). March 25, 2005.

The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, IN). December 15, 1994.

Morning Star (Wilmington, NC). July 1, 1992.

Montreal Gazette. February 3, 1984.

The Tuscaloosa News. March 26, 1982

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 29, 1981

The Pittsburgh Press. October 9, 1969.

Ottawa Citizen. September 14, 1957.

The Milwaukee Journal. February 1, 1946.

Montreal Gazette, November 9, 1942

The Winnipeg Free Press. October 14, 1935.

The Ottawa Journal. March 14, 1906.

And if you haven’t already seen it, please have look at my August 20 web story about The NHL Official Guide & Record Book and Connor McDavid. The Guide will be shipped by the printer’s this week and should be in stores very soon.

3 thoughts on “A Brief History of the Hockey Phenom

  1. Fascinating! Stardom is obviously hard to predict. (Because it’s, you know, the future!) I have a collection of old movie magazine annuals running from the early 1950s through the 1960s. Nearly all their picks for stars of tomorrow are completely unknown now and most had flamed out and disappeared by the annual two or three years later. Vanishingly few people ever get to be Richard or Gretzky. Best wishes to Connor, though!

  2. So many names I recognize!! We have seen some amazing hockey talent in our lifetime Eric!! I will have to keep an eye out for the newest Phenom: Connor McDavid!! Thanks for a great read!

  3. Wow Eric,

    That is quite an impressive compilation of “rookie sensations” over the years.
    No need to haggle over the can’t miss and the hit and miss skaters. History has done that very well.
    Enjoyed it muchly.

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