Beyond The Benches

Top 4 NHL Players Who Played In The Little League World Series

The Little League World Series starts August 14th, and in the middle of summer baseball, preseason football, summer league basketball, and offseason hockey, it’s August’s greatest sporting event. As the tournament starts, the lists undoubtedly come out identifying the former LLWS participants who went on to play professional baseball, and there are quite a few. Many people are also aware of the LLWS participants who went on to play in the NFL (such as Matt Cassel and 1980 MVP Brian Sipe). What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that there are quite a few former LLWS participants who went on to play in the NHL, including one who won the LLWS and lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup. So in honor of those 12-year-old boys of summer, here are the top 4 NHL players who played in the LLWS.

4. Ray Ferraro

The “Big Ball of Hate” donned a lot of sweaters in his 18-year playing career, including  the Hartford WhalersNew York Islanders, New York RangersLos Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers, and St. Louis Blues. Before the 1992 NHL all-star put on any of those sweaters, however, he wore a baseball jersey and represented Trail, British Columbia in the 1976 LLWS. Luckily for him his NHL career went better than his Little League career as his team was bounced from the first round.

3. Pierre Turgeon

The five time all-star and 500 goal scorer had some impressive years with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, but he also went on a pretty magical run with his little league team from Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec in 1982. They didn’t win it all, but this Canadian made his mark on the little league version of America’s pastime.

2. Stephane Matteau

Amazingly, one of Turgeon’s teammates on that 1982 little league team from Quebec was Stephane Matteau. Matteau, who scored arguably the greatest goal in New York Rangers history, is one of two NHL players who played in the little league world cup and won The Stanley Cup, which he did with the Rangers in 1994.

1. Chris Drury

Chris Drury is the only American on this list and the only man to ever have won a LLWS title and hoist The Stanley Cup, not to mention his NCAA national championship with Boston University and his two silver medals representing team USA. The former captain of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers led his little league team from Turnbull, Connecticut to the LLWS title in 1989. In the championship game against Taiwan, Drury pitched a complete-game five-hitter and rove in two runs, and that is why Drury comes in at number one on this list.

Honorable Mention, Krissy Wendell-Pohl: While she never played in the NHL, in 1994 Krissy Wendell-Pohl became the first girl ever to start for her team in the LLWS. She was a catcher for her team from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and while she never won the LLWS, she went on to play for USA’s Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey team where she earned silver in 2002 and bronze in 2006.

 

Writer: Noam Waksman is currently a senior at Connecticut College (go camels!) where he majors in English and Psychology. An unabashed Boston sports fan since birth, the Bruins have always held a special place in his heart. Noam resides in Wellesley, MA and can be reached on twitter @NoamWaksman or by email at nwaksman@conncoll.edu.