Welcome to the new world


Jarome Iginla highlights class inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Jarome Iginla, the six-time all star and two time Stanley Cup winner has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. “The big thing is being mentioned with Ken Dryden,” says Iginla said. “One of my heroes who was a goalie.”

TORONTO, ONTARIO — The 2017 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame finally had its turn in the limelight.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the five players and one executive were inducted a year later than initially planned on Monday night.

Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, and Canadian women’s national team goalkeeper Kim St-Pierre joined the former Calgary Flames captain, while Ken Holland was inducted as a builder to complete out the group voted in by the hall’s 18-member selection committee over 17 months ago.

Iginla remarked, “A career in hockey is a succession of fascinating chapters where you learn and progress from a wide-eyed beginner to a seasoned veteran.” “Then you’re done in the blink of an eye. When I think back on those chapters, they remind me of so many things for which I am grateful.”

Ken Holland, Kim St-Pierre, Kevin Lowe, Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, and Doug Wilson of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020 take part in a ceremonial face-off between Sean Monahan #23 of the Calgary Flames and John Tavares #9 of the New York Islanders. Getty Images courtesy of Mark Blinch/NHLI.

From 1996 until 2013, Iginla was a staple with the Flames, leading the club in scoring 11 times and twice receiving the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s best goal scorer.

In a career that comprised four NHL stints, the Edmonton native, who also won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading point scorer in 2001-02, combined to score 625 goals and 1,300 points in 1,554 games.

In 2004, Iginla came close to winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary, but in a hard-fought series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the big forward couldn’t quite get over the hump. Iginla, on the other hand, had a lot of success on the world scene. When he helped Canada break a 50-year drought at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, he became the first Black athlete to win gold in the Winter Olympics.

Iginla also set up Sidney Crosby’s golden goal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, making him one of his country’s most recognized players.

He described the experience as “really, absolutely fantastic.”

As the fourth Black person inducted, Iginla joins Grant Fuhr, Angela James of the Canadian women’s national team, and pioneer Willie O’Ree, who worked as a builder.

“Seeing other Black players in the NHL was significant for me as a young Black hockey player,” Iginla remarked. “When I was seven years old and playing hockey for the first time, a youngster approached me and said, ‘Why are you playing hockey?’ ‘What are your odds of playing in the NHL?’ people would ask me throughout the years. There aren’t a lot of Black players.’”

The induction ceremony is generally held on a plaza adjacent to the Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto, but this year’s event was hosted in the larger Meridian Hall across the street.

Hossa is the first player in NHL history to have appeared in three Cup finals with three different clubs in the same season. After losing the Stanley Cup finals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2009, he finally got his hands on hockey’s holy grail in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks. In 1,309 games, he scored 525 goals and 1,134 points for five different clubs.

“I didn’t know much about the National Hockey League growing up in communist Czechoslovakia,” Hossa remarked. “My early fantasies revolved solely on playing for my country. But when I got my hands on a Wayne Gretzky VHS film, everything changed. I was really enthralled.”

Unlike some of their 2020 classmates, who were chosen in their first year of eligibility (Iginla and Hossa), Lowe and Wilson had to wait for the hall call after retiring. Wilson had waited 24 years, while Lowe had waited 19 springs.

Lowe, 62, won five Stanley Cups in 13 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, but his offensive prowess was overshadowed by colleagues like as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, and Jari Kurri. He was the ninth member of the Oilers’ dynasty to be inducted into the hall of fame, and he won his sixth Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994.

“People have asked me how I feel about not being in the Hall of Fame throughout the years since I retired,” Lowe remarked. “‘You know, six Stanley Cups is OK,’ I’d remark. ‘I’ve had my fill of personal fulfillment.’ I was, after all, lying.”

Wilson won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defender in 1982 after 14 seasons with Chicago. The Ottawa native was traded to the fledgling San Jose Sharks in 1991 and spent his last two seasons on the West Coast, where he was the franchise’s first captain, before heading into the front office, where he’s been GM since 2003.

St-Pierre, the seventh woman inducted and the first female goalkeeper, played boys hockey until she was 18 years old. She went on to shine for the women’s team at McGill University before helping Canada win three Olympic gold medals and five world titles.

In the mid-1980s, Holland’s mother advised that her son find a job selling vacuum cleaners to help pay the bills since his playing career was gone and he had a young family to support. He didn’t pay attention and later joined Detroit as a scout before rising through the ranks to assistant general manager. Holland was appointed to GM in 1997 and served for 22 seasons, winning three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings.

He made his NHL debut as a player for the Hartford Whalers 41 years ago on Tuesday, and he is now the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

“I was 25 years old, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Holland, now 66, recalled. “After the first session, I knew I was going to be here for a long time.” I let up five goals in the second period and was down 6-1 heading into the third period. I was sitting in the halftime thinking to myself, ‘Ken, you’ll never play in the National League league again.’

“I suppose you’re paraphrasing an old adage: ‘Hockey was very, very kind to me when I quit attempting to play it.’”