Last week, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2018
On November 12th in Toronto, eight individuals will be immortalized in the grand hall of the old Bank of Montreal building.
In the players category, goaltender Martin Brodeur leads the group. In his 20 NHL seasons, 19 with the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur won three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003).
He owns or shares 12 NHL records, including the most wins by a goaltender along with the most shutouts, and was a part of two Olympic Gold Medal winning teams for Canada in 2002-Salt Lake City & 2010-Vancouver.
Along with Brodeur are Martin St. Louis who went from not being drafted and playing a season in the then International Hockey League with the Cleveland Lumberjacks to playing 17 years in the NHL amassing 1,033 points in 1,134 games.
The native of Laval, Quebec was only the sixth player in NHL history to be undrafted and score over 1,000 points in his career. He led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup 2004 and was part of team Canada’s gold medal winning squad at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
Jayna Hefford is a name synonymous with Women’s Hockey in Canada. After a stellar career at the University of Toronto. The native of Kingston, Ontario played women professional hockey in its infant stages. However, at the Olympic Games she was a part of four Gold Medal winning teams (2002-Salt Lake City, 2006-Turin,2010-Vancouver, and 2014-Sochi).
In addition, she won a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympic games in Nagano, Japan and was a member of seven IIHF Gold medal winning teams. Upon her retirement, Hefford ranked second amongst Canada’s all-time leaders in goals. Assist, and points.
Alexander Yakushev played 17 seasons in the Soviet Elite League with Spartak Moscow. The big forward was a part of two gold medal-winning Soviet teams in 1972-Sapporo and 1976-Innsbruck. He is best known to hockey fans as the leading goal scorer in the famous 1972 Canada-Soviet Summit Series.
In the Builders category, Willie O’ Ree leads the list. The Native of Fredericton, New Brunswick became the first black player to break the NHL color barrier in 1958 playing for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens in the old Forum. Even though his career spanned just 45 NHL games his impression on the game of Hockey could not overlooked.
He retired in 1979 at the age of 43 and for the past 20 seasons he has become an ambassador of the game. In 2008, O’Ree received the Order of Canada and this past month the Willie O’Ree Community Award was inaugurated and given to Darcy Haugen the coach of the Humboldt Broncos who died along with 18 others on that fateful bus crash this past April.
Gary Bettman was named the first commissioner of the National Hockey League in 1993 coming over from the NBA. In his 25-year tenure, the native of Queens, New York and Cornell University Bettman has seen the league grow from 24 to 31 teams and saw the league revenue increase by $3.5 billion dollars.
He was instrumental for the league’s players to play in the Winter Olympics from 1998-2014 and will again in 2022 in Beijing, China. In addition, Bettman was the proponent to outdoor games with the Winter Classic being a staple on New Year’s Day along with the Stadium Series.
There are also the major television deals with NBC/NBA Sports Network in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada which totaled near $3 billion. Before the NFL and Major League Baseball had their rooms, the NHL, led by Bettman was the first major professional league in North America to have a ‘situation’ room for replays as well as adding a second referee.
Two members of the media will also be recognized in their own wing in the Hall in November.
Larry Brooks, the long-time hockey writer for the New York Post and one time Media Relations Director with the New Jersey Devils was named the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Award similar to the Spink Award in Baseball for excellence in writing regarding the game
Joe Bowen who had been the play-by-play man for the Toronto Maple Leafs on both radio and television since 1982 was named the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Award given to the broadcaster in his field. This coming season will be Bowen’s 37th with the Leafs. Only Hewitt has done more games in the team’s history dating back to 1931. 🏒🏒