By and large, elite hockey players have come from Canada, the United States, Russia and a handful of European countries. However, more than a few NHL players came into the world in the most unlikely of locations.
For this week’s THN.com Top 10, we rank the NHLers with the most exotic birthplaces:
10. Olie Kolzig, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The longtime Capitals goalie was born to German parents in South Africa’s largest city, but spent his formative years in Canada. Johannesburg claims to be the lightning capital of the world – and the Lightning was the final team Kolzig played a game for.
9. Ed Beers, Zwaag, Netherlands.
Beers was a standout scorer for the Flames in the early 1980s and was born in this town in North Holland founded in the 13th century.
8. Rod Langway, Taipei, Taiwan.
The sole Hockey Hall of Famer on this list, Langway remains the only NHLer ever born in the Republic of China. His father was a U.S. serviceman stationed in Taiwan at the time of his birth, but he grew up in Massachussetts.
7. Paul MacLean, Grostenquin, France.
Like Langway, MacLean’s father was a military man, but instead for Canada. MacLean was born at an air force base before moving at age two to his eventual home in Antigonish, N.S.
6. Robyn Regehr, Recife, Brazil; and Richie Regehr, Bandung, Indonesia.
The Regehr Bros. were born to Mennonite missionary parents. Robyn lived in Brazil for his first three years before relocating to Indonesia, where Richie was born. The family moved back to Canada four years later.
5. Rumun Ndur, Zaria, Nigeria.
The former NHL enforcer last played in hockey’s top league for Atlanta in 1999-2000, but has since skated in various North American minor pro leagues and U.K. league games. He was born in Africa, but grew up in Ontario.
4. Chris Nielsen, Moshi, Tanzania.
Nielsen, who played 52 NHL games for Columbus from 2000 to 2002, was born to Canadian diplomat parents in the East African nation. Moshi is located near the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro and now hosts a marathon every February.
3. Rick Chartraw, Caracas, Venezuela.
The veteran Canadiens defenseman was born in South America when his dad worked there as an engineer. That he wound up in Montreal was in one sense very appropriate, since Caracas once was known for its red-tiled roofs.
2. Craig Adams, Seria, Brunei.
The current Penguins center was born in this nation on the Island of Borneo in Southeast Asia while his father was on business with Shell Oil. Seria is a key cog in the oil and gas industry in Brunei and was one of the main hot spots in a rebellion against the British Army in late 1962.
1. Ed Hatoum, Beirut, Lebanon.
Hatoum was born in Lebanon’s capital in 1947 and emigrated with his family to Ottawa 10 years later. He played 47 NHL games for Detroit and Vancouver before spending the majority of his career in the minor leagues.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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