The Hockey Hall of Fame is about to get a few new members. Yesterday, the NHL announced the 2014 Hall of Fame class, and it’s a good one. The marquee names are goalie Dominik Hasek (who will be the first Czech player enshrined in the Hall), forwards Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, and defenseman Rob Blake. Coach Pat Burns, who will be inducted in the Builder Category, and referee Bill McCreary round out the group.
The six hockey legends will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 17. And that gives us a little time to get to know them.
1990-2004, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings
Simply put, the Dominator was one of the best goalies in the NHL over the course of his 16-year career. The Czech native played in more NHL games than another European-born goaltender (735), and he holds the all-time record in save percentage (.922). Along with winning two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings late in his career, Hasek was a six-time NHL all-Star and a six-time winner of the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best goalie. He’s the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy twice as league MVP. In the first year NHL players were permitted to participate in the Olympic games, Hasek backstopped the Czech Republic to a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. He also won the William M. Jennings Trophy three times, an honor bestowed on the goalie with the fewest goals against average, and the Ted Lindsay Award, another most outstanding player award, twice.
1988-2011, Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings
Mike Modano is not only a seven-time all-star center — he’s one of the best American-born hockey players ever. Drafted with the top overall pick in 1988 by the Minnesota North Stars, Modano did not disappoint. With the Stars (first in Minnesota, then in Dallas) he played in franchise-record 1,499 games and scored 561 goals and 1,374 points. Both are the most all-time for an American-born player. Modano also has more playoff points (146) than any other American In 1999, he led the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup. Modano played his whole career with the Stars, but after a dispute with the club he signed with the Red Wings for the 2011 season, which would be his last. He was a three-time Olympian, winning the silver in 2002, and a six-time NHL All-Star.
1994-2011, Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators
Before becoming a five-time NHL All-Star, center Peter Forsberg solidified his place in history as an outstanding European-born player by helping Sweden win a gold medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. His monumental shootout goal was later commemorated on a postage stamp. But it’s his career on the NHL ice that earns him a place in the Hall of Fame. A winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year), the Art Ross Trophy (regular season scoring leader), and the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), Forsberg also won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 and 2001. Forsberg compiled 171 points in 151 playoff games, good for 11th all-time in points per game during the Stanley Cup playoffs. And for good measure, he claimed a second gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
1989-2010, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks
His first year in the league, Rob Blake started off strong as a member of the 1989 NHL All-Rookie team. It was the start of an exceptional career in seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks. Blake scored 240 goals and 777 points in 1,270 games and was an All-Star seven times. He was the winner of the Norris Trophy (the league’s top defenseman) in 1998 and won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He has also won a Cup this year with the Kings — he rejoined the club as Assistant General Manager. Blake also has a gold medal in his trophy case: He was a member of the Canadian team that won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
Pat Burns — Head Coach, Montreal Canadiens (1988-1992), Toronto Maple Leafs (1992-1996), Boston Bruins (1997-2001), New Jersey Devils (2002-2004)
Bill McCreary — Referee, 1984-1999
Recognition by the Hall for Pat Burns has been long overdue. He spent four years with the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and the Bruins. His final two years of coaching were spent with the New Jersey Devils, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2003. Burns was a three-time winner of the Jack Adams Award presented to the NHL’s top coach. He lost a battle with cancer in 2010, so he’ll be inducted posthumously.
McCreary is the first official to be elected to the Hall of Fame since Ray Scapinello was selected in 2008. He officiated 1,700 career regular season games as well as an additional 282 postseason games.
Photos: David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated (Hasek, Forsberg), Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated (Modano), Andy Marlin/Getty Images (Blake)
Hockey Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Class
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