Toronto's 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame class has been announced, and it's a historic one for the sport.
After players like Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios made it into the Hall last season, the 2014 class brought much of the same notoriety. The top names in this class include Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, but was headlined by goalie Dominik Hasek, as the Hockey Hall of Fame notes:
Also on the list were head coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary, who helped build the game during their respective tenures. Each person on the list put his stamp on the sport, but none more so than Hasek.
The 49-year-old won two Stanley Cup Finals with the Detroit Red Wings, six Vezina Trophies and an Olympic gold medal with the Czech Republic. He joins a long list of former Detroit players in the Hall of Fame, including Shanahan and Chelios from last year.
With the class now officially announced, here's a look at the full list and a breakdown of the inductees.
|Dominik Hasek||Goalie||Two-time Stanley Cup winner with Red Wings after illustrious career with Sabres, including two Hart Memorial Trophies and Lester B. Pearson Awards.|
|Mike Modano||Center||Won 1999 Stanley Cup with Stars after being drafted No. 1 overall by the franchise in 1988.|
|Peter Forsberg||Center||Won two Stanley Cups with Avalanche and 2003 Hart Memorial Trophy.|
|Rob Blake||Defenseman||Spent 21 seasons in the NHL with Kings, Avalanche and Sharks, recording 240 goals, 777 points.|
|Pat Burns||Coach||Coached in 1,019 games with the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Bruins and Devils. Won 2003 Stanley Cup with Devils.|
|Bill McCreary||Official||Officiated 1,700 regular-season games and 282 playoff games from 1982 to 2011.|
Hall of Fame Breakdown
Leading up to Monday's announcement, Hasek was the clear-cut slam-dunk candidate to make the Hall.
His outstanding career between the pipes was not always easy, but he was a player who never quit on his dreams. Fellow goaltender Tomas Vokoun spoke about Hasek's career, per the Associated Press, via USA Today:
"It took him a little bit just because of his style and all that to convince people here," said Vokoun. "I definitely consider him, if he's not the best, one of the top three to ever play. ... He definitely deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer."
That's a pretty big compliment coming from a goalie who has spent 15 years in the NHL himself.
Some of Hasek's best years came with the Buffalo Sabres, leading the franchise to eight postseason appearances during his career in Buffalo. Hasek also won both the Lester B. Pearson Award and Hart Memorial Trophy in 1997 and 1998 with the Sabres.
The Dominator spoke about his thoughts on potentially being inducted into the Hall, via the AP report:
"I appreciate it, it's very nice to be among all these big players," Hasek said. "I appreciate to be one day, maybe, in the Hockey Hall of Fame, however ... it was never my goal when I was playing hockey."
Aside from Hasek, several other hockey greats made the list of inductees.
Modano spent nearly his entire career for both the Minnesota North Stars and Dallas Stars after the franchise moved. The offensive machine scored 561 goals and notched 1,374 points for his illustrious career.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News notes both Modano and several others were deserving of the honor:
Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano in as players. Pat Burns and Bill McCreary as builders. All solid choices.— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) June 23, 2014
Modano spoke about the honor along with former Stars general manager Doug Armstrong (via Mark Stepenski of Stars.NHL.com):
"What an amazing phone call to get,” Modano said. “I am speechless, lost for words for what this has meant to me, to all of us, to get a call like this and to be recognized from same great individuals who have been involved in the game of hockey.”
“He probably would have had three or four hundred more points had he played in a different system, but I think Mike is going to go down as maybe the best two-way player to ever play the game,” Armstrong said. “The way he had to play against the other team’s top players, but was still a necessity for him to produce offense for us. Mike was a great player.”
Along with Modano, Forsberg was another worthy inductee in the class. Over the course of his career in the NHL, Forsberg totaled 885 points with four different franchises, most notably the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion winner with the Avalanche spoke about the induction with the Hockey Hall website, via NHL.com:
"It's been a good run and I wouldn't change places with anybody," Forsberg said. "Joining Borje Salming and Mats Sundin in the Hall of Fame as the third Swedish member makes it especially gratifying for me."
Forsberg, Modano and Hasek all made the Hall in their first year of eligibility, as the NHL notes:
Following yet another year with a Red Wings player joining the Hall of Fame, it could be another great class for the Detroit faithful with the 2015 class.
Both Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov are eligible for next year's class and could be first-ballot inductees. Lidstrom looks like the no-brainer out of those eligible, as the 20-year veteran notched 264 goals and 878 assists during his career, all with the Red Wings.
Kevin Gibson of TSN notes both players could join a few that didn't make the list this year, including Eric Lindros:
In 2015 Lidstrom and Fedorov are HHOF eligible. Maybe Lindros and/or Recchi get in next year?— Kevin Gibson (@TSNResearch) June 23, 2014
Along with the two Red Wings, Alex Kovalev could hear his name called. Spending nearly a decade in the NHL with five different franchises, he was a three-time All-Star and certainly deserves consideration at least for a spot in the Hall of Fame.
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