10. Mario Lemieux:
Lemieux is an NHL legend who will almost certainly rank among the greats of the sport for years to come. He stormed into the league early in his career. Lemieux threatened scoring records by racking up 199 points in the 1988-1989 season. He was then on pace for his finest seasons, scoring in 12 straight games to begin the 1992—1993 season. But a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma put his career in significant jeopardy.
He underwent draining treatment, yet actually returned to play up to his standards. Lemieux was then forced to undergo back surgery in the years that followed. Due to the ailments, Lemieux announced he would retire following the 19997 NHL Playoffs. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame that fall.
It looked like the career of one of hockey’s true greats had been cut short by injuries and health issues. But this all-time great was not done there. Against all odds, Lemieux returned for the 2000 season due to his four-year-old son wanting to see him play once again. At the time, he was a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins after purchasing shares in 1999. Lemieux played until 2006 in his return to the NHL. Adding on to his all-time totals, Lemieux furthered his legacy and overcame an early forced retirement.