Last night the Hockey Community came together to celebrate the great careers of 1 great broadcaster, 1 great front office/builder and 4 of the creme-de la-creme in terms of players. John Davidson, Lou Lamoriello, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Brian Leetch were all honoured in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Hall opened its doors to possibly one of the best cast of characters that the Hall has ever let in in a single year. Next to the Messier group a few years ago this would have to rank right there. It is a different type of players this year but their contributions to the game can not be denied. Not only can you look at the body of work in the NHL but also what they have done on the international stage with various national teams and tournaments. That is one thing that people often forget to realize, it is the Hockey Hall of Fame not the NHL Hall of Fame. That is why it is a shame that there are so many players out there that are probably deserving to be in even if they either didn’t play in the NHL or had a limited career in the league. Getting more Russians in that may be deserving will be a start (Igor Larionov was a good start) and the eventual inclusion of women who will be inducted hopefully will happen in due time.
One thing that kind of jumps out with this years group is the American influence that is going in this year 3 of the 6 name mentioned above are from the USandA...provided you count Hull as full American. This is a bit of a shift as we often see more Canadians inducted each year.
Also it is interesting to notice that in this group 3 of the inductees played together on the same team and won the Stanley Cup. There are as many as 10 players from that group that could one day be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame -- and that doesn’t even include coach Scotty Bowman who has already been inducted. That has to rank right up there as one of the best teams ever assembled.