Following up on Rob’s wonderful post on the prestigious MLB draft from a few weeks back, it’s time to take a look at weird and wonderful names from another North American draft. The NHL draft was held in scenic Pittsburgh last Friday and yielded a solid crop of funny names, courtesy of the usual sourcing of pro hockey players from Canadian towns like Saskatoon and tragically vowel-deprived families in the Czech Republic. Here’s a look at ten of the finest names from this year’s draft :
1. Slater Koekkoek – The Ontario-born defenceman was selected 10th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In case you’re wondering, the name is pronounced “cuckoo”, which will be a delight to sportscasters for years to come. If only he could wind up on the same team with Jordin Tootoo.
2. Matthew Dumba – Not too many NHL stars are of Romanian-Filipino descent, but the highly promising Mr. Dumba may just become one of the greatest in that narrow category. Dumba was taken 7th overall by the Minnesota Wild, eager to add even more funny names to their impressive roster of amusingly named players. As a bonus, Dumba is a recent winner of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy in the junior-level Western Hockey League.
3. Zemgus Girgensons – The highest drafted Latvian in NHL history (quite a feat), Girgensons was taken 14th by the Buffalo Sabres, seeing a need for more Zemguses in their lineup. Zemgus is currently playing college hockey with the Vermont Catamounts, who win the prize for most obscure feline related hockey team name.
4. Jordan Schmaltz – St. Louis Blues selected the sweet-skating Schmaltz in the first round with the 25th selection in the draft. The Wisconsin- born defenceman will bring some smoothness and schmaltz-puns to a team desperately in need of them.
5. Mackenzie MacEachern – Already a winner in life with a coveted “Double-Mac” name, MacEachern won a state High School Championship last year with the delicious-sounding Brother Rice High School in Michigan. Now he can dream of even bigger success having been selected 67th in the draft by the St. Louis Blues, who are doing a good job trying to make sure they are never left out of one of our funnies names posts again like they were in our first NHL funny names post.
6. Teuvo Teräväinen – The fast-skating Finn went 18th to the Chicago Blackhawks, having played with the Finnish team Jokerit last year. It remains to be seen just how the American commentators will approach pronouncing his last name, but I’m sure it’ll be highly entertaining.
7. Martin Frk – A man in search of a vowel or two, Martin Frk was picked by the Detroit Red Wings, which means that he may eventually get to fulfill two common dreams kids have growing up in the Czech Republic – playing in the National Hockey League, and living in Detroit.
8. Patrick Sieloff – The Calgary Flames have had trouble giving up too many goals in the past few years, so in the second round of the draft they picked this American born kid to “seal off” their defensive zone. Forgive me.
9. Dalton Thrower – A teammate of the famed Tommy Stipancik and Darian Dziurzynski in the great Saskatoon Blades team this season, the fearsome-sounding Thrower was selected by the currently far too gentle Montreal Canadiens to eventually bring some fear into the hearts of their opponents. With a current lineup including not-so-fearsomely named players like Josh Gorges, he sure fills a need.
10. Jujhar Khaira – The son of a gravel-truck operator from Surrey, B.C, Khaira was the one of five players from the small B.C. Hockey League selected in this year’s draft. He also draws a personal connection to the Funny Names Blog, having played for the former hometown team of two-thirds of this blog’s writers, the high-flying Penticton Vees, who dominated their league this year.
Whether all or any of these kids actually make it to the NHL, with names like these it’s clear they will succeed in one thing or another in life. We wish them the best of luck as they pursue their dreams of playing in this fine league (and living in Detroit).