Hockey in North America has been around for hundreds of years, and the game has evolved in so many ways that the pioneers of the sport might not recognize the game today as their own.

The NHL is approaching its own centennial anniversary. However, the coveted trophy that hockey superstars globally dream of hoisting is the Stanley Cup, which was first awarded in 1893.

Since the trophy's first presentation and the formation of the NHL, the great players have defined the game as they have in the other Big Four sports. Great players in the NHL are defined by Stanley Cups, among other league leading accomplishments that they win each season as well as all time.

Here are the top five players to ever step foot on the ice: