Every year, the start of the NHL season brings with it a crop of players making their NHL debuts. These rookies – most of them in their late teens or early 20s – will suddenly have more money in their pockets than ever before in their lives, and if the past is any reliable guide, many if not all will use this newfound wealth to treat themselves to a shiny new sports car – or two or three (hey, sometimes they have a LOT of money).
One evening, during his rookie season in 1971-72, future superstar Guy Lafleur was eating dinner with teammate Serge Savard and a wealthy friend at a Montreal restaurant, when on a whim, they decided to all buy cars. So, they trotted down the road right then and proceeded to purchase three identical Cadillac Eldorados, similar to this one:
Lafleur remembers each vehicle cost $5,500 – roughly $30,000 in today’s money – which ate up about 20 percent of his salary that year. Sadly, laments Savard, in their youthful naiveté they neglected to negotiate a volume discount from the undoubtedly surprised and delighted dealer.
First in the Capitals superstar’s heart is the love of scoring goals, but a close second appears to be his custom Mercedes. On the left is how it looked several years ago, complete with a vanity plate reading “AO GR8”. When the itch came to shake things up a little (as it always does), Ovechkin opted not to go out and purchase a replacement, but instead remained loyal to his vehicle, although giving it a fancy new paint job (seen on the right).
Obviously, driving around town in that car, and with that plate, anonymity is not among Ovie’s main concerns.
Does choice of car reflect personality? Ovechkin’s Mercedes seems to match his justifiably showy and energetic on-ice presence, and, similarly, Crosby – usually seen as more calm and studious than his main rival – chose a vehicle suited to him. It’s a still classy, but less conspicuous, Range Rover, as featured in a YouTube video in which he stops to sign autographs outside of the Penguins’ arena.
Oh, and it’s a safe ride too, which it better be, because sometimes Crosby rides with a very important passenger.
Unlike many players, the defenceman did not immediately run out and buy a new car when he broke into the NHL with the Dallas Stars in 2008. In fact, he continued to drive the same drab grey 2001 Pontiac Sunfire he had owned for years. This state of affairs made his very kind teammates pity him, so when the Stars went on a lengthy road trip, they arranged for his car to undergo some sweet detailing – with a twist. So imagine Niskanen’s face when he saw this waiting for him on his return home.
In his 21-season NHL career, the Finnish Flash scored 684 goals, and owned almost as many cars. Well, maybe not quite. Still, he had a lot, and as you may expect, they’re all high end. Fortunately, he’s always been gracious about letting others see them.
The eagle-eyed viewer will have spotted the modern, a Lamborghini Gallardo. And the classic, a Cadillac Series 62 Coupe — we’re sure he didn’t get it just for the tailfin(n)s:
Now that he’s retired, you have to assume he’ll remain in California, or do the unthinkable and divest himself of most of that collection. Imagine shipping more than two dozens cars back to Finland!
The Montreal Canadiens’ defenseman has a fine taste in cars, having opted for a Jaguar, as seen in a video on the Canadiens’ website.
My only thought is that that’s a pretty tight squeeze. Talk about little room for error. One slight misjudgement...
Since becoming the first-overall pick in 1998, Lecavalier has won the Rocket Richard trophy and the Stanley Cup, and is now closing in on 1,000 points for his career. As you may expect, over the years Lecavalier has owned a series of nice cars, including BMWs, SUVs like the Hummer H2 in the background and this Ferrari 360 Spider convertible, which he once drove on to the ice in Tampa Bay.
Lecavalier says he resisted the urge – barely – to start doing donuts at centre ice.
You might assume from his 2,634 career penalty minutes that Brashear, who retired in 2010, would drive a monster truck or even an 18-wheeler, crushing rush-hour traffic beneath his wheels. However, the truth is the big man’s tastes ran a little finer than that:
That’s a Lamborghini Gallardo, retail price roughly a quarter of a million dollars.
Phil Kessel / Logan Couture
On a lighthearted note, what do these two have in common, besides great skill? They were the last picks in the 2011 and 2012 players’ draft at the All Star game, as evidenced by this photo of a lonely Kessel tweeted by Alexander Ovechkin.
However, there was an upside. To help ease the tongue-in-cheek embarrassment, both were the lucky recipients of free cars. Kessel got a hybrid Honda CR-Z (like the one in the middle), while the next year Couture was given a Honda Crosstour (right).
A lockout and an Olympics pre-empted All Star games in 2013 and 2014, but this coming Jan. 25 in Columbus, some player from somewhere will join Kessel and Couture as the third “winner” of a free car.