The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted five new members last night: Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and Fred Shero. As far as Hall classes go, this one was stacked with legends: Chelios, Shanahan, and Niedermayer, and Heaney were three of the best players to ever hit the ice, and Shero was one of the all-time great coaches.
Here's a closer look at the newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame:
Chris Chelios, D, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta Thrashers, 1983-2010
Not only one of the NHL's all-time great defenseman, Chelios is one of the best American hockey players ever. After breaking in with Montreal, he established himself as a dominant Iron Man in Chicago. He played 1,651 games (the most of any defenseman in NHL history), made the playoffs 24 out of his 26 seasons, won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Red Wings, and helped Team USA win a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Geraldine Heaney, D, Toronto Aeros, Canadian National Team, 1990-2003
Heaney played more than 1,000 games as a member of the Toronto Aeros, and was on two medal-winning Olympic squads, taking home silver in 1998 and gold in 2002. She was an aggressive offensive defenseman who drew comparisons to Bobby Orr. Her gritty play and her big-time playmaking helped Team Canada win seven World Championships — and inspired girls in Canada and the US to try hockey. Heaney is only the third woman to be inducted into the Hall.
Scott Niedermayer, D, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, 1991-2010
The Devils took Niedermayer third-overall in the 1991 NHL Draft, and he quickly established himself as one of the game's top defenders. He was part of three Stanley Cup teams in New Jersey (1995, 2000, 2002), before leaving for the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent in 2005 and in 2007 led the team to its first Stanley Cup (and the first Cup to be won by a team in California). He also won two gold medals, at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics.
Brendan Shanahan, LW, New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, 1987-2009
Shanahan was another Devils top pick, selected second overall by New Jersey in the 1987 NHL Draft. He earned a reputation for tough, gritty play in New Jersey and, later, St. Louis, but he became a legend during his years in Detroit. His physicality and scoring touch helped guide the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups, in 1997, 1998, and 2002 — the same year Shanahan was a member of the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
Fred Shero, Coach, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, 1971-1981
Shero coached the Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975 (the last time the team won the Stanley Cup). But more than winning, Shero brought innovation behind the bench. He studied how the powerhouse Soviet Union teams coached and played the game, and utilized some of their techniques in Philadelphia. He also studied game film, used an assistant coach, and required the morning skate before other NHL coaches.
Check out this great SI.com slideshow for more on the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2013 class!
Photos: AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn, Glenn Cratty/Getty Images (Chelios), Brian Bahr/Getty Images (Heaney), Getty Images (Niedermayer), David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated (Shanahan), Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images (Shero)
Chelios, Shanahan, and Niedermayer Lead 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame Class