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NHL

5 NHL Players Who Were Once Football Stars

5 NHL Players Who Could Have Made the NFL

Blake Wheeler
James Guillory-USA Today Sports

While NHL training camps are still over six weeks from opening up, NFL camps are opening up around the country as football season comes closer. With athleticism and tenacity being common traits, it’s not hard to see many players in today’s league being star football players if their careers had taken different paths.

5. Hal Gill

Hal Gill Philadelphia Flyers
Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports

5. Hal Gill

Hal Gill Philadelphia Flyers
Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports

The giant defenseman was a star quarterback at Nashoba Regional High School in Massachusetts and could have been a solid QB at an FCS school. Despite being compared to former Pro Bowler Drew Bledsoe, Gill made the right call by choosing the ice as he has played over 1,000 games in the NHL.

4. Chris Stewart

Ottawa Senators v St. Louis Blues
Getty Images

4. Chris Stewart

Ottawa Senators v St. Louis Blues
Getty Images

The hard-hitting power forward was a tight end in the Toronto area growing up and considered quitting hockey for football. With the way Syracuse University has recruited in Ontario in recent years, it’s not a stretch to imagine Stewart suiting up for the Orange.

3. Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh
Getty Images

3. Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh
Getty Images

The nephew of former University of Miami Hurricanes star and NFL quarterback Steve Walsh, McDonagh was a safety on the gridiron at Cretin-Derham High School in St. Paul. While he has been a star defenseman and captain of the New York Rangers, he would’ve looked good in Hurricanes’ green and orange as an Ed Reed-type safety in Coral Gables.

2. Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler
Getty Images

2. Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler
Getty Images

His intriguing mix of size and speed makes him a star for the Winnipeg Jets, but it once made him a star tight end for Breck School in Minnesota. While Wheeler is certainly a star hockey player, his athleticism would have allowed him to excel in any sport he chose.

1. Paul Martin

Paul Martin
Winslow Townson- USA Today Sports

1. Paul Martin

Paul Martin
Winslow Townson- USA Today Sports

The U.S. Olympian has become one of the best American born defensemen in the league, but he was setting records at Elk River High School in Minnesota once upon a time. Martin was a star wide receiver and set the Minnesota state record for career receptions during his high school days. With the way he moves on the ice, it’s not hard to imagine Martin making defenders miss on Sundays.