The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have begun - opening ceremonies will be televised tonight on NBC - and Olympic hockey starts shortly. Honestly, other than watching events out of a morbid curiosity to see what goes wrong (watch out, ski jumpers), hockey's what we're all going to be tuning in to.
The Active Times has compiled a ranking of the fifty greatest Winter Olympians of all time. There methodology was this:
To compile the top 50, we enlisted the help of five Olympic experts who are among the best in their field. They each ranked the athletes they thought were the best in Olympic history and we scored their picks using a range of criteria. The formula weighed the following factors: number of times an athlete was nominated, medal count and type, and subjective factors (for example, the 1980 USA Men’s Hockey team ranked high on our list despite earning only one medal because of the remarkable story). We also gave additional credit to athletes who placed number one on our panelists’ original lists of nominees.
Their panel of judges include Brian Pineli, PJ Kwong, Tom Ecker, Bill Mallon, and Anthony Th. Bijkerk.
There are obviously hundreds of Winter Olympians to choose from. The highest ranking hockey player was a team, and it's the team that you all expect - the 1980 men's gold medal squad. They ranked 16th overall. Thirty-second overall was Vladislav Tretiak, goaltender for the Soviet men's team and one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.
This being a general Olympians list and not a list of most awesomest hockey players, there are people representing nearly every sport on here. If you had a chance to make a hockey-centric list, which players would you choose? Leave them in the comments - they can be from any era, any country, any position.