Author's note: there is a poll after the jump, so be sure to have a look.
Let me preface this by saying that this idea of an "interesting name" is going to be rife with English pronunciations and understanding of words, thus Hakan Loob becomes "interesting" where it might be less interesting to a Swedish speaker, same for Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a French speaker. That said, sometimes the translations can add something to it; for instance, Logan Couture becomes "Logan Fashion," Guy Lafleur becomes "Guy the Flower," and so on. Anyway, hockey history is chock full of names that can pique a person's interest, whether it's because it's unintentionally funny to the English sensibility (Petr Pohl), almost regal (Normand Rochefort), or lends itself to entertaining wordplay (Darius Kasparaitis). The criteria for our "most interesting names" is a bit loose, in that the name can strike you as any one of the above descriptors, or all of them, but ultimately you are going to vote on the name that "strikes" you the strongest.
Because this will be narrowed down to the NHL, you will not be struck by Petr Pohl (if you know what I mean).
Now, the 1920s and 30s boast a large number of old-timey names and nicknames that became synonymous with the player. King Clancy was King Clancy, not Francis Clancy, and Turk Broda wasn't Walter Broda. That kind of naming convention is pretty much non-existent today, as the nicknames are usually clearly expressed in a way that clarifies that they are, indeed, nicknames. Nevertheless, I'm holding some of these older naming conventions together, because Hockey-reference.com does so and makes it quite enjoyable. You'll see.
Due to the large number of 1920s to 1930s names, we're going to break it into a few posts, then bring together the top 8 or so from those posts and put it to penultimate vote. When all the eras have their winners, they will showdown in the final tournament of interestingness, with the lesser names left in their wake. For the sake of everyone, I have chosen the initial nominees; I'm considering having an honourable mention group after the fact, so in the concluding post for each of the eras feel free to suggest "missed" names. I tended to favour names that were interesting in both the first and last names.
Fair warning: some of these names are interesting for...ahem...reasons that...ahem...might be a bit too interesting for some viewers.
Our first round of nominees:
- Odie Cleghorn - Predated the cartoon characters Odie and Foghorn Leghorn, looked more like a stepdad than either of them. His name, no matter the context or inflection, sounds clunky.
- Goldie Prodger - Served honourably in World War I, name sounded like a rich man's fire poker.
- Red Green - For those not in the know, Red Green is a pretty popular comedian in parts of Canada and the northern U.S. Much like the contemporary Red Green's attempts to be a handyman, hockey Green had limited success.
- Fern Headley - "Fern" is such a soothing name, and to combine it with a running gag in a movie that came 50 years later bumped it up a notch.
- Punch Broadbent - Even his name sounded like he could bite through a tire-iron.
- Werner Schnarr - Easily the most German-sounding name from this era, it becomes decidedly more enjoyable with the German "Verner" pronunciation.
- Emory Sparrow - Sounds like he was pulled straight from an Agatha Christie novel.
- Hobie Kitchen - He was the answer to the age-old question, "Where does the Hobie Baker work?"
- Wildor Larochelle - He is what happens when you mix a Lord of the Rings character with a suspect in Clue.
- Joe Ironstone - It's a little disappointing to me that his parents couldn't find another earthy material for his first name. Clay Ironstone, Brick Ironstone, Granite Ironstone...oh yeah, he was a goalie, too.
Plenty more where those came from. Stay tuned.