Youngest NHL Player

8 of the Youngest NHL Players in History

NHL hockey is one of the most physically demanding, violent, brutal games sports have to offer us. When we think of violent sports, our minds probably go to rugby and football first. However, hockey stands alone in that it’s the only sport that openly welcomes and encourages actual knock-down and drag-out fistfights between opponents. When you watch a hockey game, you’re practically seeing an amateur boxing match. That two-for-one special makes the game one of the most entertaining in sports.

That’s why when we see some of these players who enter the league at younger and younger ages, some of whom you’ll be shocked to find out were just high-school-aged, it demands that we give them the recognition they deserve as true warriors and uniquely talented athletes.

Join me as we take a look at some of the youngest NHL players to hit the ice!

8. Grant Mulvey

Age: 18
Born: 09/17/1956
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Position: Right Wing

photo source: icehockey.fandom.com

Grant Mulvey was a 6’4”, 210-pound Canada native who played just 12 games for the Chicago Blackhawks at 18-years-old. 12 games aren’t much, but it’s enough to grant him entry on this exclusive list. His career was cut short before it got a chance to begin due to various injuries. That’s the sad reality for many when it comes to this violent sport.

Mulvey was the record holder for the youngest player since the league expansion in 1967 to score a goal, which came at 18-years-old. In 2013, Alexander Barkov Jr. broke the record by one day when scored against the Dallas Stars. He was just a day younger!

Did You Know?

Grant didn’t let his time in the league go to waste. He shined in a game against the St. Louis Blues, scoring five goals and two assists. That performance set a franchise record for most goals in a game and tied the record for most goals in a single period at four.


7. Jack Schmidt

Age: 18
Born: 11/11/1924
Team: Boston Bruins
Position: Left Wing

Jack Schmidtphoto source: icehockey.fandom.com

Jack “Jackie” Schmidt was a 5’10”, 156-pound Canadian kid from Saskatchewan. He was a leftie and played the wing position, making his start at 18 for the Boston Bruins. Schmidt had a long playing career exclusive to the Boston Bruins. It lasted from 1942-1956.

Jackie served during World War II, which was not uncommon for many players during the Nazi occupation. They either sacrificed their playing careers to fight or served before being drafted to the league.

Did You Know?

Ice hockey ran in the family. Jack’s brother, Joe Schmidt, had a very brief stint for the Bruins, which lasted only two games in 1943-44. Albeit brief, he could still call himself a pro.


6. Ted Kennedy

Age: 17
Born: 12/12/1925
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Position: Center

Ted Kennedyphoto source: nhl.com

Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, bearing no relation to the famed politician, Ted Kennedy, was a 5’11”, 170-pound Ontario native and hall of fame center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His playing career was a prestigious one spanning 1942 to 1957. He is one of the lucky few that holds the rare title of being a career-long Toronto Maple Leaf, and the love in the relationship was mutual.

Kennedy was team captain for eight seasons. He was the first player in NHL history to win five Stanley Cups while being the last to win the Hart Trophy, an annual award bestowed on the most valuable player.

Did You Know?

In his rookie campaign, he hit the ice running and immediately transformed the team, and raised the ceiling of what was possible for the club. He finished second on the team in scoring and was a gifted floor general. He holds the team record for career points in the Finals while being the youngest to score a Stanley Cup-winning goal.


5. Jackie Hamilton

Age: 17
Born: 06/02/1925
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Position: Center

photo source: icehockey.fandom.com

Jackie Hamilton was a 5’7”, 170-pound Ontario native who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs at just 17-years-old. His career persevered and went from 1941 to 1958, if you include his career as a journeyman throughout the minor leagues.

In the NHL, he played 102 games between 1943 and 1946.

Did You Know?

Jackie Hamilton started his career as a left-winger for the Maple Leafs in 1942 and finished with the Troy Bruins, a team in the minor leagues.  


4. Don Gallinger

Age: 17
Born: 04/16/1925
Team: Boston Bruins
Position: Center

photo source: icehockey.fandom.com

Don Gallinger was a 6’0”, 170-pound center and Ontario native who played for the Boston Bruins. Notice a trend here? Canada’s knack for pumping out pro-level hockey talent has been a guarantee dating back to hockey’s inception. Some things never change!

Gallinger played 222 games between 1942 and 1948. His journey to the NHL came as no surprise to those who knew him, considering his entire family played at some level. In junior hockey, he shared the ice with his teammate and friend who we covered earlier on the list – Ted Kennedy!

Did You Know?

Don Gallinger was the quintessential all-around athlete. He fielded offers to cross the pond and play for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies while still playing for the Bruins.


3. Ross Johnstone

Age: 17
Born: 04/07/1926
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Position: Defenceman

Ross Johnstonephoto source: icehockey.fandom.com

Ross Johnstone was a 6’0”, 185-pound, Quebec native and defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played 42 games in the NHL, all for the Leafs. In 1945, his name was put on the Stanley Cup.

He spent most of his career (7 years) in the minor pros. In junior hockey, he was a defenceman for the Toronto Marlboros. He appeared with the Oshawa Generals, playing in the 1942-43 Memorial Cup Final. Coming off of the success of his appearance, he turned pro the following seasons and won the Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Did You Know?

Between 1953 and 1957, he played for the Sundridge Beavers as part of the Ontario Hockey Association’s intermediate division.


2. Don Raleigh

Age: 17
Born: 06/27/1926
Team: New York Rangers
Position: Center

Don Raleighphoto source: icehockey.fandom.com

Don Raleigh was an Ontario-born, 5’11”, 150-pound center for the New York Rangers. His thin frame didn’t stop him from enduring the physicality and lasting in the game because he played a total of 535 regular-season games. His debut came in the 143-1944 season at 17-years-old for the New York Rangers. He was so noticeably thin that his nickname was ‘Bones.’

His frame must have played to his advantage because he became the first player in Rangers history to score four goals in a single game. It might have had something to do with the nimble agility and quickness that only a 150-pound body could afford! He scored the overtime-winning goals in games four and five against the Detroit Red Wings. Along with being the first to score four goals in a game, his game four and fives performances made him the first to log back-to-back overtime goals in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Did You Know?

Raleigh was inducted into the Manitoba Sports and Hockey Hall of Fame.


1. Bep Guidolin

Age: 16
Born: 12/09/1925
Team: Boston Bruins
Position: Left Wing

Bep Guidolinphoto source: icehockey.fandom.com

Armand “Bep” Guidolin is the youngest hockey player to play in the NHL!

Bep Guidolin was a 5’8” and 175-pound Canadian kid who played left wing for the Boston Bruins. His playing career lasted from 1942 to 1952.

His welcome to the league was thanks to WW2 and the Bruins desperate need to replace a thin roster after players left to serve in the military. Otherwise, it’s unlikely a 16-year-old kid would ever be drafted into the NHL, and something we will probably never see again.

Did You Know?

Bep was a huge advocate for the development of a player union. He was met with fierce resistance by the ownership groups in the NHL. Ultimately, the battles between players and ownership that he helmed brought on an early career demise. It was a necessary sacrifice, and without it, player protections might not have come as far as they have in the modern era.

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