Before we dive into the discussion of the top hockey players worldwide, it is vital to know the origin of this agile sport. Hockey existed in various forms in the ancient world. From Greece to the Aztecs, people used to play hockey in a different format. 

In the ancient era, the people of Ethiopia, Iran, and Egypt also played this game. Although in a slightly different manner. During the 19th century, England used to play the game in its contemporary form.

The first Hockey Association was established in the UK and was responsible for creating the initial official set of regulations for hockey in 1876. In the present day, there are two forms of this sport: ice hockey and field hockey. Field Hockey is part of the Olympic Summer Games. 

The first Olympic hockey competition for men took place in London in 1908. England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany and France were the six teams in this competition. After an interlude, hockey became a permanent sport at the Olympics in 1928 after the establishment of the governing body of the International Hockey Federation by Paul Léautey.

Field hockey is an hour-long match occurring on an artificial grass pitch. Hockey always has two teams, consisting of 11 or 10 infield players and one goalkeeper. The team aims to score the most goals by hitting the ball into the opposing side’s net. Team members use the wooden hockey stick rounded at the end to hit the ball.

Early Pioneers and Legends

Legends have graced the hockey game time and again. It is impossible to name all in this limited space. But we try to hand-pick the best among the lot. We hope that you will find it beneficial. So, let’s have a look at the names once:

1. Dhyan Chand

Legends are the ones that once pioneered their way in an unknown field. When it comes to hockey, which is the National sport of India, it is mandatory to mention the best hockey player that the country has ever witnessed, Dhyan Chand. His immense prowess in this game earned him the honorific tag of Hockey wizard. Born in British India, he enrolled in the army at 16. 

His love for hockey was ingrained at an early stage, and he used to play hockey in the army and even practiced during the night under the moonlight. Under the legendary sportsmanship of Dhyan Chand, India’s first hat trick of gold medals in the Olympics was completed.

2. Balbir Singh Dosanjh

We can compare only Balbir Singh Dosanjh’s talent with the highly revered performance of Dhyan Chand. Balbir Singh Senior became a three-time Olympic gold medallist whose journey in this sport has several obstacles. He was the first player whose win at the Olympics led to the unfurling of the Tricolour. 

The Indian Flag was hoisted for the first time in the London Olympics in 1948. It is the moment that the legendary player remembers with utmost happiness. His skills on the hockey field ensured the second hat trick of Olympic medals with ease and finesse.

3. Gonzalo Peillat

Gonzalo Peillat is another legendary hockey player representing Argentina in the 2012 Summer Olympics. In the 2014 World Cup, he led the tournament’s scoreboard with ten goals, earning him a bronze medal. He won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. Winning the gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics for Argentina can be attributed to one of his best accomplishments. He was the leading scorer in the tournament with 11 goals.

4. Jamie Dwyer

Jamie Dwyer is an Australian field hockey player. He has played in around 350 Australian matches and has about 220 goals besides his name. Jamie even earned a gold medal in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal. His performance in the Commonwealth Games is also noteworthy, where he won gold in 2006 and 2010.

5. Skill and Dominance

Dhyan Chand has been dubbed as the wizard or magician whose unfaltering skill with the hockey stick mesmerized everyone. He is a legend for a reason, and his slick maneuvering of the hockey stick made hockey the Pride of India. All legendary players have the power in them. Thus, it allowed them to dominate the match on the field skillfully.

6. Offensive Powerhouses

The offense is sometimes the best defense. The record-breaking score of Balbir Singh Dosanjh against the Netherlands showed how attacking from the front makes a difference. Aggressive playing often takes place on the field, and the India-Pakistan match of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics is a reminder of excessive aggressiveness. However, offensive powerhouses save the day often by marching toward the goals with skill and vision.

7. Defensive Icons

The goalkeeper is the defender in a team and has the heftiest job. They must ensure that the opponent’s ball doesn’t enter the net. Thus, they must be on their toes, and their high alertness can save a match. The world’s top players knew how to score and defend the goal area from the opponent’s strikes. Hockey is not just about getting the balls through the net. It is also about preventing the strikers from the opposing team from scoring goals. People develop the defensive tactic to make a watertight plan for winning a match.

8. Leadership and Teamwork

The best players in the world have one thing in common. These players can work wonderfully in a team. Hockey is a team sport, and ardent players have made legendary strokes on the field by attacking and leading their team toward victory. Dhyan Chand gave stellar performances as a team player and captain, revealing the importance of leadership and teamwork in hockey.

9. Legacy and Impact

Major. Dhyan Chand retired from his army service in 1956 and was conferred with the Padma Bhushan. He started coaching future players and became the Chief Coach for the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala. India celebrates its National Sports Day on Dhyan Chand’s birthday, 29th August, and a commemorative postage stamp and the First-Day Cover in his honor.

Balbir Singh Dosanjh made five goals in the 6-1 win in the final against the Netherlands. It is a record for the most goals scored in an Olympic final. Balbir Singh Senior didn’t part ways from hockey after retirement and took up coaching to spread his love for hockey to future generations. 

He also guided the Indian hockey team in other tournaments. Gonzalo Peillat disagreed with head coach German Orozco and exited Team Argentina. Therefore, he chose to represent Germany in the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup in 2023.

Contemporary Greats

1. Eva de Goede

Hockey has produced many legends in the world. The present-day players who have made their presence known by their unbeatable performance in this sport include Eva de Goede, who is part of the Dutch team and whose team has consecutively participated in the Olympic finals for five years. The team won gold in 2008, 2012, and 2020. 

2. Agustina Albertarrio

Another notable Hockey sports personality is Argentinian player Agustina Albertarrio, who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Eddie Ockenden from Men’s Hockey is equally commendable. He is an Australian player who has won two World Cups and seven trophies. Another Australian player is Jamie Dwyer, who won the FIH International Player of the Year five times.

The best players of all time have left an indelible mark on the spirit of this sport, and contemporary and emerging players are imbibing it in them. The legends have already made their name by becoming a part of this sport’s history, and the new players are adapting and adopting their strategies to innovate their gameplay on the Hockey field.


The best hockey players in the world have fought hard to make this sport popular worldwide. The early legends had a challenging time convincing people about the efficacy of this sport. Once the sport made a permanent mark in the Olympics, it became easier for people associated with this sport to further their careers in this field. New players became invested in this sport when legends made world records in hockey. 

Indeed, hockey witnessed a dip in popularity, but now it has picked up the pace because more countries are establishing training centers for hockey. The contemporary players nurture the dream of playing and winning in the Olympic Games. The legends have set the mood and bar, but the list of the top Hockey players is ever-changing because newer talents are entering and enriching hockey with time.

Also, read some interesting facts and tips: 

  1. When India fought with a Hockey bat
  2. Points To Consider While Creating Fantasy Hockey Team
  3. Tips for Winning Fantasy Hockey Games