There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
bought and paid by our local franchises--and the deep emotional
bond we share with hometown heroes, the local legends we knew
back when. They are the boys and girls from next door, or the
next town. We watched them grow up, watched them play when it
was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are almost
inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature, lured
away by scholarships or pro contracts. Well, we're bringing 'em
all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where they
were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Mr. Hockey and Mario are both in
Canada, not Michigan or Pennsylvania. The result: the top 50
from Canada and, on the following pages, a list of those from
all 50 United States. In short, the ultimate home teams.
#1 Wayne Gretzky
Holds 61 NHL records, including career goals (894) and assists
(1,963); MVP nine times; won four Stanley Cups.
#2 Gordie Howe
Six-time NHL MVP with Red Wings; scored 975 goals and had 1,383
assists over 32 seasons (including six in WHA).
#3 Bobby Orr
PARRY SOUND, ONT.
Eight-time Norris Trophy winner changed the role of defensemen;
NHL MVP three consecutive seasons (1969-70 to '71-72).
#4 Lionel Conacher
Voted Canada's greatest athlete of the half century; named the
best player in CFL history and won Stanley Cups with two teams.
#5 Mario Lemieux
Six-time NHL scoring champ, three-time MVP; most points per game
(2.0) in history.
#6 Maurice (Rocket) Richard
First NHL player to score 50 goals in 50 games; had 544 goals in
978 regular-season games; led Canadiens to eight Stanley Cups.
#7 Terry Sawchuk
Four-time Vezina Trophy winner; more victories (447), shutouts
(103) and games played (971) than any other NHL goaltender.
#8 Donovan Bailey
Set 100-meter world record (9.84) in winning gold medal at 1996
#9 Ferguson Jenkins
Cy Young winner in 1971; won 20 or more games six consecutive
years ('67-72) for the Cubs.
#10 Nancy Greene
Won gold medal in giant slalom and earned silver in slalom at
#11 Jean Beliveau
Elegant Canadiens center scored 507 goals and had 712 assists in
20 seasons; first-team All-Star six times.
#12 Bobby Hull
POINTE ANNE, ONT.
Slap shot clocked at 118 mph; NHL's seventh alltime goal scorer,
with 610; son Brett is approaching 600 NHL goals.
#13 Larry Walker
MAPLE RIDGE, B.C.
First native Canadian to win National League MVP, in 1997; .363
average won '98 NL batting championship.
#14 Doug Harvey
Ten-time first-team All-Star and seven-time Norris Trophy winner;
played 19 seasons and won six Stanley Cups.
#15 Gaetan Boucher
Speed skater won gold in 1,000- and 1,500-meter races and took
bronze in 500 at 1984 Olympics.
#16 Myriam Bedard
Only Canadian woman to win two gold medals at a Winter Games
(1994, in 7.5- and 15-kilometer biathlons).
#17 Guy Lafleur
Two-time NHL MVP; led the league in scoring three times, 1975-76
to '77-78; won five Stanley Cups with Canadiens.
#18 Mark Messier
Active points leader; two-time league MVP; renowned, fearsome
leader has won six Stanley Cups.
#19 Scotty Bowman
Winningest coach in NHL history led Canadiens to five Stanley
Cups in eight years; won total of three more with Penguins and
#20 Percy Williams
Sprinter won gold medal in 100 and 200 meters at the 1928
#21 Eddie Shore
FORT QU'APPELLE, SASKATCHEWAN
Only NHL defenseman to win Hart Trophy four times; led Boston to
Stanley Cup victories in 1929 and '39.
#22 Lennox Lewis
Boxer won 1988 Olympic gold as super heavyweight; became
undisputed world heavyweight champion in October.
#23 Jacques Plante
SHAWINIGAN FALLS, QUE.
First goalie to wear mask; seven-time Vezina winner was NHL MVP
#24 Alex Baumann
Won Olympic gold medals and set world records in 200-meter and
400 individual medley at the 1984 Games.
#25 Ray Bourque
Five-time Norris Trophy winner and 12-time first-team All-Star;
has scored more goals than any defenseman in NHL history.
#26 Barbara Ann Scott
In 1948 became the first North American to win an Olympic gold
medal in women's singles skating.
#27 Ken Dryden
Five-time Vezina winner won six Stanley Cups in eight seasons
with Canadiens; had 46 shutouts in 397 games.
#28 Sandy Hawley
First jockey to win 500 races in a year (1973); in '86 became the
seventh jockey to win 5,000 career races.
#29 Paul Henderson
Scored most memorable goal in the country's history, against the
Soviet Union to win the 1972 Summit Series.
#30 Kurt Browning
Four-time world figure skating champ first to execute quadruple
toe loop in competition.
#31 Paul and Gary Gait
BRENTWOOD BAY, B.C.
Identical twins led Syracuse to three NCAA lacrosse titles (1988
to '90); each was a first-team All-America three times.
#32 Bobbie Rosenfeld
Won gold on record-setting 4X100 relay team, silver in 100 meters
at 1928 Olympics.
#33 Jacques Villeneuve
In 1997 became first North American to win Formula One driving
title since Mario Andretti in '78; won Indy 500 and CART
championship in '95.
#34 Silken Laumann
Three months after lower leg was shattered took bronze in single
sculls at 1992 Olympics; was singles world champion the year
#35 Red Kelly
Rushing defenseman was among the NHL's top 10 scorers three
times; won four Stanley Cups with Maple Leafs.
#36 Frank Mahovlich
Six-time Stanley Cup winner; one of best left wings in NHL
history (533 goals, 570 assists).
#37 Terry Fox
PORT COQUITLAM, B.C.
After losing his right leg to bone cancer, completed cross-Canada
Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research.
#38 Howie Morenz
The Babe Ruth of hockey in his day was a three-time NHL MVP; led
league in scoring in 1927-28 and '30-31.
#39 Syl Apps
Two-time first-team All-Star won four Stanley Cups with Maple
#40 Victor Davis
Won a gold medal and set the world record (2:13.34) in 200-meter
breaststroke at 1984 Olympics.
#41 Dickie Moore
Two-time first-team All-Star left wing led the NHL with 96 points
#42 Harry Jerome
Three-time Olympic sprinter earned a bronze medal in the
100-meters in 1964; was '64 NCAA 100-meter champion at Oregon.
#43 Steve Podborski
Two-time World Cup downhill champion; earned bronze medal in 1980
#44 Tommy Burns
World heavyweight boxing champion from 1906 to '08; was 11-1-1 in
#45 Marilyn Bell
In 1954 became first person to swim across Lake Ontario, 32
miles from Youngstown, N.Y., to Toronto; in 20:58.
#46 Sandra Post
Won Ontario Junior golf title from 1964 to '66; first Canadian to
play on LPGA tour, won LPGA championship in '68.
#47 Patrick Roy
Clutch goaltender won three Stanley Cups, two with Canadiens, one
with Avalanche; is the fifth NHL netminder to win 400 career
#48 Glenn Hall
NHL goaltender played in record 502 consecutive games, from 1955
to '62; third alltime with 84 shutouts.
#49 Russ Jackson
Quarterback led Rough Riders to Grey Cup title game four times,
#50 Ben Johnson
Earned Olympic 100-meter bronze in 1984; set world records in 100
at 9.83 and 9.79; suspended after testing positive for steroids
at '88 Games.
COLOR PHOTO: PAUL J. BERESWILL #1 Wayne Gretzky