By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano
With the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony held last night in Toronto, and with the greats that were inducted, other players nearing the end of their careers must, in the back of their minds, be wondering whether or not they have been productive enough throughout their journey in the NHL to be honoured, as well.
After being drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1990, now, almost 20 years later and in his 18th season in the NHL, Owen Nolan—though having faced many injuries through those years—has amassed 852 points (406 of those goals) and 1,753 penalty minutes in 1,127 games and has appeared in five All-Star games.
Nolan may be remembered best for his goal in the 1997 All-Star Game while playing with the San Jose Sharks, who hosted the event that year. While streaking down the left wing on a breakaway, he pointed to the top corner above Dominik Hasek’s shoulder and proceeded to bury it right there for his hat trick and a huge thrill for everyone at the game, along with solidifying a highlight that will be replayed forever.
Many adults and kids in rinks around the world began mimicking his actions that year and number 11 appeared on many hockey jerseys.
He has been a captain and/or alternate captain with five of the six teams he's played for, including the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and now with the Wild.
He won an Olympic gold medal with team Canada in 2002 in Salt Lake City, breaking a 50-year drought. Amazingly, it was Canada’s first gold since 1952.
I believe, as I am sure many others do, that Owen Nolan exemplifies what a great NHL player is with his balanced scoring, leadership, toughness, and heart, and should get some votes after retiring to be inducted into the hallowed halls of NHL fame.
He has my vote!
Owen Nolan and the Minnesota Wild visit the ACC tonight to take on the Leafs and I will be there with his cousin Lazlo, a long time friend. We will be making our way down to the player’s lounge and hanging out after the game; hopefully I will get a few quotes from Owen for a follow-up on this article.