Like many professional athletes, NHL players don’t always simply ‘retire’ the day of their last big game. Some become coaches or commentators. Other still, pursue a totally different career path.
Surprisingly, the food service industry is often a good fit for former sports stars. Players can lend their name to an establishment where fans can come to pay homage and relive their favorite career highlights. Here are a few restaurants where hockey lovers can go to dine among fellow fans.
Wayne Gretzky is arguably the most well-known hockey player to ever start in the NHL. With a career spanning twenty season (1979-1999) across four teams, and as the leading scorer in the league’s history, “The Great One” was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his retirement. Since then, Gretzky has stayed busy with endorsements, appearances and his sit-down namesake restaurant in downtown Toronto. The restaurant and bar showcase a personal collection of Gretzky’s career memorabilia. Guests come to enjoy the rooftop patio, the restaurant, and of course, a sport bar boasting 40 HDTV’s showing sports all day, everyday.
Visit: Wayne Gretzky’s
Tim Horton was a Hall of Fame defenseman, playing for 24 seasons in the NHL. Before his death in 1974 in an automotive accident, Horton had already become a successful businessman. In 1964, he opened Tim Horton Doughnut Shop in Hamilton, Ontario, and by 1968, Tim Horton had become a multimillion-dollar franchise chain. Upon his death 6 years later, Horton’s business partner and Ron Joyce, bought out the Horton family’s shares of the 40 store locations. Today, there are nearly 4,600 in Canada alone, making it the country’s largest quick service restaurant chain.
Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Sports Lounge
Wendel Clark split his hockey career between five teams, but spent the largest chunk of years playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made a name for himself with a furious style of play that led him to become one of the most penalized players of his day — spending 1,690 career minutes in the penally box. Even so, he was able to amass 330 regular season goals and 37 playoff goals throughout his storied career. He co-owns Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Sports Lounge with three locations: Brampton, Ontario; Hamilton, Ontario; and Vaughan, Ontario. The upbeat energy and sports bar set up is ideal for noshing on steaks, salads and burgers, and of course, game day viewing.
Chelio’s Chili Bar
Chris Chelios is one of the longest tenured players in the NHL. With a career spanning from 1984 to 2010, Chelios won the Stanley Cup once with the Montreal Canadiens and twice with the Detroit Red Wings, but also spent time as a Blackhawk and a Thrashers. In January 2017, Chelios was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history. Since is 2010 retirement, Chelios has worked for the Red Wings as a special assistant, but he has also has devoted time to his restaurant Cheli’s Chili Bar in Detroit Michigan, a quick shuttle from Joe Louis Arena for game day fans.
No neon lights here. Even though Ray Bourque is considered to be one of the greatest players to ever grace the ice of the National Hockey League, he kept sports out of his post-retirement restaurant endeavor. Bourque spent 21 seasons with the Boston Bruins, but it wasn’t until joining the Colorado Avalanche that he could claim a Stanley Cup win. Bourque holds the NHL records for most career career goals, assists and points by a defenseman, and now holds the title of owner of Tresca, an upscale Italian restaurant serving authentic dishes in Boston’s North End.