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The NHL's Most Interesting Name: 2000s Part I

He even <em>looks</em> like a Branko.
He even looks like a Branko.

After the Most Interesting Name of the 1990s was established and Zarley Zalapski's redemption was realized, the arrival of the final decade in this series gave me a time to reflect on the whole thing a bit. You see, the original ideal wasn't to look for the "most interesting" name; in fact, the origin was Norm Milley, whose name called to mind all the time I pored over those official NHL yearbooks in the mid- to late-1990s and early 2000s. Granted, he was no Bob Wren or Bill Bowler, but he did respectably in the AHL and got his shot at the NHL - now he toils away in the DEL playing for the, no joke, Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams. Tangent opportunity...

The Grizzly Adams players grow out their beards, and one of their players is named Colin Beardsmore. This stuff writes itself. Anyway...

Norm Milley is totally a farmer's name, like Hoggett and Timmins, and I thought to myself, "Who has the most farmer-like name in NHL history?" ... Okay, give me a break - it was late, and I had nary a thing to write.

After looking at the names from the 1920s, it was increasingly clear that there were a whole slew of names that were just out-and-out interesting, regardless of their ties to the earthly employ. A star was born.

So I'll carry on to the last rounds, and I'm sure a lot more of these will be familiar to you...

Once again, the purpose of the exercise: 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.

Your first nominees:

  • Norm Milley - Where it all began. Did I mention his name sounds like he's a full-on farmer?
  • Bubba Berenzweig - I actually watched him play for the Milwaukee Admirals...kind of a dope on the ice, so I guess the name is appropriate.
  • Miika Elomo - Too easy: Tickle Me Elomo.
  • Timo Helbling - Hell Bling? Sounds like a combination of Van Helsing and a guy wearing gold chains that are on fire.
  • Bryan Adams - Kicked out of the league because he kept waking up the neighbours.
  • Fedor Fedorov - You kind of get the impression that his parents ran out of ideas. "Let's do 'Fedor.'" "Really?" "It's a good name...a family name." "No kidding."
  • Ben Lovejoy - If you watch The Simpsons, you already understand why he's on here.
  • Byron Bitz - Unlike his Ritz and Tim Horton's counterparts, Byron is a bigger version of human beings.
  • Branko Radivojevic - Probably the coolest name of the 2000s, it suggests all sorts of bad-assery.
  • Chris Bala - One of those guys who took his Harvard degree and went into professional hockey. With all due respect, the NHL is no place for ballas.

So ends the first of three groups; you'll have to forgive me, but 30 teams means more names to work with. Be sure to vote.