The 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame will induct four of the game’s all-time greats on November 12 in Toronto, with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure getting the call to the Hall yesterday. Sakic and Sundin were both on the ballot for the first time( having been retired for the minimum of three years), while Oates made it after five years, with Bure making it after his sixth year of waiting.
It may have been the greatest day for Oates between the four, as he was named as the head coach of the Washington Capitals just hours prior to the announcement.
As is almost always the case, a few good men were left off of the inductees list, with Brendan Shanahan being the most recognizable name amongst hockey fans. But it was only his first year of eligibility, and most expect Shanahan will receive the call sooner rather than later. Other retirees still waiting for their big day include Eric Lindros, Jeremy Roenick, Curtis Joseph, Phil Housley and Dave Andeychuk.
Former head coaches Pat Burns and Fred Shero were also among the names left off again this season.
Of the four new inductees, Sakic arguably had the best career and put up the most impressive numbers. Beginning his career when the were the Quebec Nordiques, Sakic won a Stanley Cup when the team moved to become the Colorado Avalanche. Besides his amazing stats, Sakick also captured all the hardware he could, winning the Hart Trophy and Conn Smythe Award while also winning an Olympic Gold Medal with Team Canada.
Sundin was actually a teammate of Sakic’s in Quebec, although many will remember him primarily for his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He still holds many of the franchise’s offensive records for a forward. He was also the first European born player to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft.
Oates will be seeking his first Stanley Cup championship with the Capitals, as he never won one as a player or assistant coach, coming the closest as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils this past month. Oates was not the scorer that the other players were, but he was one of the best set-up men in the history of the game. He goes down as the man with the sixth most assists in NHL history.
Bure was another classic goal scorer who amazed fans when he burst onto the scene with the Vancouver Canucks in 1992. Known as the Russian Rocket, Bure was an amazing talent who was limited in his career due to chronic knee injuries. But he still scored 779 points in 702 career games, highlighted by two 6o goal seasons and a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the New York Rangers in 1994.
Some of the players eligible for the first time in 2013 include Keith Tkachuk, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Rob Brind’Amour and Rob Blake.