This may have already been answered, but I've seen a handful of people ask if Martin Frk is the first player in NHL history who lacks a vowel in his name in comments on WIIM and /r/detroitredwings the last week or so and wanted an answer. So I wrote a bit of crappy JS to scrape Hockey Reference's player pages and find out.
A few quick notes before the answer regarding my script, which you can find here:
- It relies on data from the player lists found at Hockey-Reference. If their data is incomplete or inaccurate, my answer may be wrong.
- Because the lists include first names, I dropped the first word found in each name. This logic is flawed since a player could potentially be known by a name that includes their middle name or initial or their first name could be two words (i.e. John-Michael Liles has two first names, although it is hyphenated and would not be included in my tests). I chose to drop the first word rather than go with the last word only because I had a handful of players jump to mind with multiple words in their last name, but no immediate examples of the multiple first name words.
- I assume that Y is always a vowel. Generally, when it is the only vowel in a word, this is true. But it is flawed to assume this, especially when it comes to non-English names.
- The script is crappy and I wrote it in about 15 minutes. It is possible there are bugs, although I did not notice any issues with the data I was checking when testing.
- I had to use a proxy to get around CORS and it took me longer to find a workaround for that than to write the damn script
Is Frk the first NHLer without a vowel?
The answer is kinda. He is the first NHL player, but Jaroslav Vlk played 4 games in the WHA in 1978-79, the final season before the league was folded into the NHL. Additionally, it appears his team was Czechoslovakia who only played 6 games, so I am unsure if that was just an exhibition or what exactly. WHA history is generally included in NHL history, so I think he counts but it is definitely a debatable question.
(Small note: This is the second time I posted this FanPost after a realizing I missed something significant in the write-up. Apologies if anyone saw that post in the 2 minutes it was up)