Trivial Sports Histories: Satan on Ice

Trivial Sports Histories: Satan on Ice
Not sure why Satan's jersey wasn't a best seller.

Down 3-1 in the current NHL playoff series, Chicago Blackhawks fans might think some slight of hand from the underworld is at work.

Though Hawks fans over the years have complained about the cheap shot players like Raffi Torres as much as they have complained about obnoxious Canucks fans and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers being bullies, it is probably true that they've seen worse. To the hardened Chicago Blackhawks fan, no other team in the NHL represents evil more than the Detroit Red Wings.

But long before the Blackhawks 2013 post-season saw them butt heads with the Western Conference's devil incarnate, there was once  --in the truest sense of the word-- another Satan patrolling the ice. And it's not back in the dawn of time that I'm talking about.

In 1993, a player named Miroslav Satan was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers as the league's overall 111th pick. Hot off of the rink from the 1994 Winter Olympics in  Lillehammer, Norway, Satan had represented Slovakia and in devilish fashion set the ice ablaze, scoring eight times in nine games. 

Satan, whose surname is correctly spelled "Šatan", still plays back home in Slovakia. Starting his professional career in 1991 at an early age of 17, this 6 foot 3 left-handed star was a versatile oddity, playing as a journeyman wing for a number of teams after leaving Edmonton.

Satan matured and got better with more play in the mid-1990s, later going on to lead the Buffalo Sabres in scoring during the 1997-98 season before scoring 40 goals the next season as the club returned to regular playoff appearances.


Satan on the left. Not such a bad guy, despite the Bruins' get up.

During the new 'red and black era" jersey that the Buffalo Sabres launched upon his arrival, it's a wonder why --in the era of ironic t-shirts and hipster wear that started to trend in the 1990s onto the next decade-- that the Satan jersey didn't become a widely worn hit.

It could be very well that as a player, Satan did what relatively few pro athletes do these days. He played his game, and did his job by scoring goals and playing defense. Satan never caused a ton of trouble, never got arrested (that we know of). Satan also had a pretty tepid fight card for a long time NHL player still in the game.

As a side note, there is one interesting tidbit about Satan as a player. Supposedly, according to some Slovakian linguistics experts on the web, Miroslav Šatan literally means "Power and Glory Adversary".

Frye writes for ESPN.com, Fiveonfive Magazine, and DerbyLife.com. Follow on Twitter at @MySportsComplex.

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