Last NHL Players to Play Without A Helmet
Rod Langway, Ron Duguay, Doug Wilson, and Greg Smyth ranks amongst the last NHL player to not wear a helmet during the games.
We can't imagine an athlete playing ice hockey without a helmet today. But if we go back to the NHL's first decades, it was just normal for players to play without headgear.
What is even more surprising is that several athletes entered the rink without a helmet even after the NHL made helmets mandatory. We hardly find any players playing without visors in recent days. Imagine, those players dared to go without a helmet!
The NHL made helmets compulsory in 1979. Still, a player who signed his first pro contract before then could opt out if they signed a waiver. Around 30 percent of NHL athletes were still not wearing a helmet during the 1978-79 season.
List of last hockey players to play without a helmet:
|Craig MacTavish||St. Louis Blues|
|Brad Marsh||Ottawa Senators|
|Randy Carlyle||Winnipeg Jets|
|Rod Langway||Washington Capitals|
|Doug Wilson||San Jose Sharks|
|Greg Smyth||Calgary Flames|
|Harold Snepsts||St. Louis Blues|
|Guy Lafleur||Quebec Nordiques|
|Al Secord||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Ron Duguay||Los Angeles Kings|
Craig MacTavish - 1996/97
Craig MacTavish was the last NHL player to play without helmet. It is also true that MacTavish was one of the first players to wear a helmet at the start of his NHL career.
MacTavish used to wear headgear when he was playing in college. He was still wearing it when he played five seasons with the Boston Bruins.
However, he changed his mind about wearing a helmet and decided to play without it after he joined the Edmonton Oilers. Craig was the only player in the NHL without a helmet by the 1993-94 season until he retired in 1997 at the age of 38.
Brad Marsh - 1992/93
The second-last NHL player to play without a helmet, Brad Marsh, was also known as a shot-blocking specialist during his career.
“You get hit in the face here and there at various times, but it had no relevance to if I had a helmet on,” Brad said. “When you’re on the ice, you always have to be aware of what’s going on, who else was on the ice, where the puck was being shot from, and so on.”
The player wore a helmet during his 15 years NHL career only a few times. He told, “In the Marsh household, we grew up watching the Maple Leafs, and I wanted to be like Allan Stanley, Bobby Baun, Tim Horton, any defenseman from that era. So, I didn’t wear a helmet.”
Brad played his last NHL season at the age of 34 in 1992 with the Ottawa Senators. Marsh then bid adieu to his 15-season-long NHL career.