Toronto, ON—Bill Hay, Chairman and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn, Co-Chairmen of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, announced today the Class of 2012. The newest members that will be inducted into the hall on November 12, 2012 are Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, and Mats Sundin.
Every year there are many eligible players, coaches, and pioneers that are up for selection, but only a lucky few are selected. Jim Gregory uttered the following words prior to announcing the four inductees to the Hockey Hall of the Fame,
“The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these four hockey legends as Honored Members,” said Jim Gregory. “Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved.“
Joe Sakic was a lock to get into hockey’s’ ultimate palace on the first ballot. Sakic amassed 1,641 points in 1,378 NHL games spread across 20 seasons all with one franchise. He was drafted 15th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1987 NHL Entry Draft and moved with the team to Colorado in 1996. He captained the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise for 17 seasons, the second longest captaincy in NHL History. Sakic won two Stanley Cups with Colorado in 1996 and 2001. During the 1996 Stanley Cup run, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy. On the international stage, Sakic won gold at world junior in 1988, the world championships in 1994, and the 2002 Gold Medal at the Salt Lake Olympics.
Mats Sundin was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Sundin played 18 NHL seasons, playing 13 of them with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He captained the Maple Leafs for 11 seasons scoring 420 goals and adding 567 assists for 987 points with the franchise. He was a point per game player with 1,349 points in 1,346 games. Sundin never won a Stanley Cup but had 564 goals and 785 assists. Sundin was the first Swedish-born player to reach 1,000 points in the NHL. He holds the record for the most points, goals, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and overtime goals in Maple Leafs history. He was the first European player drafted selected overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
Adam Oates, who was eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2007, also never won a Stanley Cup, but it is hard to knock a player who was one of the best passers in NHL history. Oates is sixth all time in assists with 1,079. He also scored 341 goals for a total of 1,420 points in 1,337 career games with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim, and Edmonton. Oates teamed with Hall of Fame member Brett Hull to form one of the best one-two combinations in history. Oates best season came in 1992-93 when he scored 45 goals and 97 for 142 points.
Pavel Bure is a native of Moscow Russia joining the Vancouver Canucks for the 1991-92 NHL season. He won the Calder Trophy, as NHL’s Rookie of the Year that season. He does not have a long resume, but over his 12 seasons in the NHL compiled 779 points, including 437 goals. His career was ended due to a knee injury. He averaged 36.7 goals per season and hit the 60 goal mark twice. He nearly scored 60 goals two more times in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. Bure never won a Stanley Cup, but had a memorable playoff run in 1994 when he had 16 goals and 31 points before the Canucks lost to the Rangers in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.
Once the players are announced there is always much debate over what players and builders should have gone in over the ones that were elected. Many people are asking why Brendan Shanahan, Eric Lindros, and Pat Burns are not in the Hall of Fame yet.
Shanahan, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and 656 goal scorer, piled 1,354 points in 1,524 games over a 21 year career. He also won an Olympic Gold medal with Canada at the 2002 Olympics. He is the only player in NHL history with more than 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. He is the current head of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and his job may have rubbed some people the wrong way which maybe one reason he may have not gotten in this year. He will be going into the Hall of Fame in the near future and his numbers say he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Lindros has been eligible for induction since 2010. He piled up 865 points in 760 games averaging a point per game. In his first eight seasons with the Flyers, Lindros compiled 659 points over 486 games. During the 1994-95 lockout shortened season, he won the Hart Trophy scoring 70 points in 46 games. He followed that up with a career high 115 points. He had to retire in 2006-2007 due to post-concussion symptoms. Just like Shanahan, Lindros will have to wait another year to see if he gets the call to the hall.
Pat Burns coached 16 seasons in the National Hockey League. During that time he coached in 1,019 games. He won the Jack Adams Trophy, for NHL Coach of the Year, on three different occasions, with three different teams- Montreal (1989), Toronto (1993), and Boston (1998). He coached the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2003. Pat ultimately lost his life to cancer in November of 2010. That was his first year of induction eligibility. People in the hockey world petitioned for Burns to get elected in 2010 after his death, but his name was not called. His name was not called again this year and that is a sad state of affairs. How does a man who won the coach of the year three times along with the Stanley Cup not get into the hall of fame is hard to comprehend.
Congratulations go out to the members who were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame this year and let the debate continue about those players who should have gotten in.