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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

Korea to Australia: leading scorers from non-traditional hockey names

Given hockey's requirement for ice, the sport has long been the domain of northern hemisphere countries. Factor in the expensive nature of the sport compared to soccer and basketball, and hockey is by far the least global of the major professional sports. That being said, hockey has experienced a growth globally since the modern game took hold early in the 20th century, and the NHL is beginning to follow that suit. One of the players featured in this post, Jim Paek, was the first person born in South Korea to play in the NHL; not only that, he won two Stanley Cups during his career.

In honour of Paek, I thought it would be interested to look at the the all-time leading scorers in the NHL for some non-traditional hockey nations. This information was gathered from, which I believe organizes its listing on the nation a player represents internationally, and not necessarily their birth nation. Hence, Jim Paek, although born in Korea, played international hockey for Canada and is considered Canadian for the purposes of this list.

  • Australia: Nathan Walker, 10 points in 32 games. Walker is currently active with the St. Louis Blues, scoring a hat trick this season. He has also won a Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018.

  • Croatia: Joel Prpic, 3 points in 15 games. Prpic played for Boston and Colorado in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

  • France: Antoine Roussel, 193 points in 583 games. Roussel has played 10 seasons in the NHL, currently suiting up with Arizona.

  • Hungary: Frank Banham, 11 points in 32 games. Banham, born in Alberta, played for Anaheim and Phoenix in the late 1990s/early 2000s. He obtained Hungarian citizenship after playing pro hockey in the country.

  • Ireland: Sid Finney, 17 points in 59 games. Finney played three seasons for Chicago in the 1950s.

  • Italy: Bob Manno, 173 points in 371 games. Manno, born in Ontario, played eight NHL seasons in the 70s and 80s. He played and coached extensively in Italy during his career.

  • Jamaica: Graeme Townsend, 10 points in 45 games. Townsend played for Boston, the New York Islanders and Ottawa in the 1990s.

  • Lebanon: Ed Hatoum, 9 points in 47 games. Hatoum played for Detroit and Vancouver in the 60s/70s, as well as in the WHA.

  • Netherlands: Eddy Beers, 210 points in 250 games. Beers, born in BC but of Dutch heritage, played for Calgary and St. Louis in the 1980s.

  • Poland: Mariusz Czerkawski, 435 points in 745 games. Czerkawski played 12 seasons for five different NHL teams in the 1990s and 2000s, playing in 2000 all-star game.

  • Slovenia: Anze Kopitar, 1029 points in 1164 games. Kopitar is one of only three Slovenian born NHLers in history, and has won two Stanley Cups, two Selke Trophies and a Lady Byng.

  • South Korea: Alex Plante, 2 points in 10 games. Plante, born in Manitoba, played with Edmonton from 2009-2012. He played pro hockey in Korea from 2015 to 2020, gaining Korean citizenship in 2017.

Card 303 - Brent Ashton

A left winger, Ashton was drafted 26th overall by Vancouver in 1979 after scoring 64 goals and 119 points with Saskatoon in the WHL. He made his NHL debut in the 1979-80 season, scoring five goals and 19 points in 47 games with the Canucks.

In what would be the first of a NHL record seven trades during his career, July 1981 saw Ashton sent to Colorado via Winnipeg in a three way trade involving future NHL head coach Ivan Hlinka. Ashton played one season with the Rockies, scoring 24 goals, before moving with the team to New Jersey for the 1982-83 season. Early the following season, he was traded to Minnesota for another future NHL head coach, Dave Lewis. Ashton lasted just under 100 games with the North Stars before a December 1984 trade to Quebec as part of a four-player swap.

With the Nordiques Ashton rediscovered his goal scoring touch from junior, putting up 78 goals over three seasons. During the 1986-87 season he scored a career-high 40 goals and 75 points, but was traded for fourth a time, this time as part of a six-player swap with Detroit. In his first two seasons with the Wings Ashton played in back-to-back Campbell Conference Finals, contributing 12 points during the 1988 playoffs.

In the 1988 off-season Ashton was traded once again, this time to Winnipeg for yet another future NHL head coach, Paul MacLean. The Jets proved to be Ashton’s longest NHL stay at 222 games over 4 NHL seasons, including a 31 goal season in 1988-89. Over the final years of his career, Ashton was traded twice more, first to Boston and finally to Calgary. Following 32 games with the Flames in 1992-93, Ashton played with Las Vegas in the IHL, retiring during the 1993-94 season due to a knee injury.

In 14 NHL seasons, Ashton played in 998 games, scoring 284 goals and 629 points. He held the record for most times traded by a single player until it was tied by Mike Sillinger. Ashton currently owns and operates a sportswear wholesale company in Saskatoon.

YouTube clip: a minute and a half of goals from Ashton’s time with Quebec.

Card 304 - Brad Jones

A left winger, Jones was drafted as a freshman out of Michigan in 1984, selected 156th overall by Winnipeg. He played three more seasons with the Wolverines, joining the Jets for four games in the 1986-87 season, scoring one goal.

In 1987-88 Jones played for the US National Team, squeezing in another 19 games with the Jets. The next two seasons would be split between the AHL and 24 games with the Jets; Jones' time in Winnipeg ended in December 1989 with a trade to Los Angeles for Phil Sykes. In 1990-91 with the Kings, Jones played a career-high 53 games, scoring nine goals and 20 points, also career-highs. In the playoffs he played in eight games, scoring one goal and two points.

1991-92 would be Jones’ final NHL season, playing 48 games with the Flyers after signing as a free agent. He spent the next four seasons split between the North American minors and stints in Switzerland and Germany. His pro career ended in 1997-98 with the BC Icemen of the UHL, who he coached from 1997 to 2002. Jones’ final coaching gig was with Port Huron of the UHL in 2002-03.

In six NHL seasons Jones played in 148 games, scoring 25 goals and 56 points.

YouTube clip: scoring a goal for the Kings then getting pumped in a fight by the Canucks’ Jim Agnew.

Card 305 - Gord Donnelly

A defenceman, Donnelly was in his third year in the QMJHL when he was drafted 62nd overall by St. Louis in 1981. He played a fourth season in the Q before turning pro with Salt Lake City of the IHL in 1982-83.

Before ever suiting up for the Blues, Donnelly was sent to Quebec as compensation for St. Louis' signing of then Nordiques head coach Jacques Demers. From 1983 to 1986 Donnelly split time between Quebec and its AHL affiliate, making the Nordiques for good in 1987-88; he played in 64 games, scoring four goals and seven points while recording 301 penalty minutes.

In December 1988 he was traded to Winnipeg for Mario Marois; split between the two teams that season, Donnelly scored a career-high 10 goals and 20 points. Donnelly was a blueline enforcer, a rare player these days, recording 200+ penalty minutes over the next two seasons with Winnipeg, and a career-high 316 in 1991-92. Early in that season he was sent to Buffalo in a six-player trade. Donnelly’s playing time began to dwindle with the trade, playing only 25 games in 1993-94 between Buffalo and Dallas, and 16 games in his final NHL season of 1994-95.

From 1995 to 1997 Donnelly played in the IHL before heading over to Europe, playing three seasons in Austria, winning a league title in 1999, before retiring in 2000. In 12 NHL seasons, Donnelly played in 554 games, scoring 28 goals and 69 points. He also recorded 2069 penalty minutes, 49th all-time.

From 2000 to 2003 he was an assistant coach with Concordia University in Montreal and since then has been a scout in the NHL with both Nashville and Chicago, working for the Hawks since 2009.

YouTube clip: one of Donnelly’s 13 career fights against Jay Miller; Donnelly has 152 fights in his NHL career.

Card 306 - Murray Craven

A right winger, Craven was drafted 17th overall by Detroit in 1982. His next two seasons were split between Medicine Hat in the AHL and Detroit, playing 46 games with the Red Wings, scoring four goals and 15 points.

In October 1984 Craven was traded to Philadelphia for an aging Darryl Sittler. In his first season with the Flyers, Craven scored 20 goals and 51 points, finished with a +44 rating and making the Stanley Cup Finals, scoring 10 points in 19 games as the Flyers lost to the Oilers. Over his next six seasons in Philadelphia (1986 to 1991), Craven scored at least 19 goals in five seasons, recording a career-high 30 goals and 76 points in 1987-88. That season saw the Flyers make another trip to the Cup Finals, losing again to Edmonton.

Early in the 1991-92 season Craven was traded to Hartford with a draft pick for Kevin Dineen. He played just under two seasons in Hartford, scoring 20+ goals each season, before a trade to Vancouver. With the Canucks Craven made his third Cup Finals appearance, scoring 13 points in 22 games as the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in seven games in 1994.

During the lockout of 1994-95, Craven held out from the Canucks as a free agent and was eventually traded to Chicago for Christian Ruuttu, playing in only 16 games that season. After two more seasons in Chicago he was traded to San Jose in the 1997 off-season. Craven played the final three seasons of his NHL career with the Sharks, being released 19 games into the 1999-2000 season.

In 18 NHL seasons Craven played in 1071 games, scoring 266 goals and 759 points, scoring 20+ goals seven times. From 2016 to 2019 he was the senior vice-president of hockey operations for the Vegas Golden Knights, a job earned in part by being neighbours with the Golden Knights’ owner Bill Foley. Prior to working for Vegas, Craven scouted for the Sharks and worked in the construction industry.

YouTube clip: scoring on a penalty shot against Andre ‘Red Light’ Racicot during the 1990-91 season.

Card 307 - Chris Dahlquist

A defenceman, Dahlquist played four seasons of college hockey with Lake Superior State (his senior season as captain) before signing as a free agent with Pittsburgh in May 1985. His first two pro seasons were played primarily in the AHL with Baltimore, appearing in 24 games with the Penguins.

Dahlquist gradually worked his way into the Penguins lineup, playing 44 in games in 1987-88 and 43 in 1988-89. 1990-91 was a career-season for Dahlquist, scoring four goals and 14 points in 62 games. In December 1990 he was traded to Minnesota in a four-player swap that saw Pittsburgh obtain Larry Murphy. Dahlquist would meet his former team in the Stanley Cup Finals that season, scoring one goal and seven points as the North Stars would lose in the Finals in six games.

After equaling his career-high total of 14 points the following season, Dahlquist was claimed by Calgary in the 1992 waiver draft. He played two seasons with the Flames, appearing in over 70 games each season. For the 1994-95 season he signed with Ottawa, appearing in 70 games over two seasons. Dahlquist played 18 games with Las Vegas in the IHL in the 1997-98 season before retiring.

In 11 NHL seasons Dahlquist played in 532 games, scoring 19 goals and 90 points. He has stayed out of hockey since retirement, working in the financial field. His daughter has carried on the hockey legacy, playing college hockey at North Dakota.

YouTube clip: leveling Tom Chorske on what would now be a quasi-legal hit but back in the 1990s was simply a good hockey play.

Card 308 - Jim Paek

A defenceman, Paek was drafted 170th overall by Pittsburgh in 1985 from the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He played two more seasons in Oshawa, turning pro in 1987-88 with Muskegon in the IHL. In three seasons in the IHL Paek scored 50+ points each season, moving to the Canadian National Team in the 1990-91 season. He also appeared in three games with the Penguins during the regular season, and eight games in the 1991 playoffs, enough to get his name on the Stanley Cup that spring.

For the 1991-92 season Paek played 49 regular season games, scoring eight points. He also appeared in 19 playoff games, recording four assists and winning his second straight Stanley Cup. He followed up his second Cup win with career-highs in games (77), goals (3) and points (18) during the 1992-93 season.

In February 1994 he was traded to Los Angeles with Marty McSorley for Shawn McEachern and Tomas Sandstrom. Paek played 18 games with the Kings before a trade to Ottawa in summer 1994. He played 29 games with the Sens in 1994-95, his final season in the NHL.

From 1995 to 2000 Paek played with various teams in the IHL, heading to England to play with Nottingham for the 2000-01 season. He played three seasons in the EIHL, interrupted by a brief return to North America to play for Alaska in the WCHL before retiring following the 2002-03 season.

In 5 NHL seasons Paek played in 217 games, scoring five goals and 34 points. He holds the honour of being the first Korean born player in the NHL. In addition to being a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Paek also won two Turner Cups in the IHL. After retiring from playing, he was coach for one season with Orlando in the WHA2, coaching high school hockey in Ohio the following season. From 2005 to 2014 he was an assistant coach with Grand Rapids in the IHL before leaving to become the head coach and director of the South Korean men’s national hockey team. He still holds this role today, and is most recently remembered for coaching the South Korean team at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.

YouTube clip: scoring his first career NHL goal in Game 6 of 1991 Stanley Cup Finals, on a 2-1 with Mario Lemieux. Paek’s goal made the score 7-0 Penguins in the Cup-clinching game.

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