Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Hockey Hall of Fame Day

Today saw four people inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto from a fairly impressive list of eligible candidates. There were international and NHL stars, as well as some executive and officials, who were eligible for the ballot, and I feel that the four men who received the vote today are certainly worthy of their spot in Hockey Hall of Fame. The four men elected to the Hall of Fame honestly need no introduction or fanfare due to their accomplishments, but, if that were really the case, why am I writing anything?

The first man I'll preview who was elected to the Hall of Fame today is Igor Larionov. Larionov was long regarded as the "Wayne Gretzky" of Russian hockey in the early 1980s. "The Professor", as he was also known, was part of the feared "KLM line" featuring Vladimir Krutov, Sergei Makarov, and himself. His list of achievements is notable: four World Championship gold medals, three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, and two Olympic gold medals.

The Russian superstar was a member of the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and the New Jersey Devils. He began his professional career playing in Russia with Khimik of the Russian League before moving on to CSKA Moscow. It was there that coach Viktor Tikhonov enlisted him to play for the Soviet Union on one of the most dominating lines in hockey history. Larionov retired from the NHL in 2003-04 with 169 goals and 475 assists for 644 points in 921 games.

The second player to be elected to the Hall of Fame is Glenn Anderson. Anderson joined the Oilers in 1980-81, and was an integral part of the five Stanley Cups the Oilers won over an 11-year period. Anderson seemed to take his game to another level during the playoffs, and always scored clutch goals. He won a sixth Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994. He also was a member of the 1987 Canadian team that won the Canada Cup over the Soviets.

Anderson was a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and St. Louis Blues during his career in the NHL. His 93 playoff goals is fifth all-time in playoff scoring. The 17-season veteran retired from the NHL with 498 goals and 1099 points in 1129 regular season games.

The Builder Category will see the late Ed Chynoweth added as a member. From 1972 until 1995, Chynoweth served as the president of the WHL, and was the president of the Canadian Hockey League from 1975 until 1995. Chynoweth had recently served as president of the Kootenay Ice. Sadly, Chynoweth passed away earlier this year after a long battle with liver cancer. In his honour, the WHL Championship Trophy was named the "Ed Chynoweth Trophy" in honour of his accomplishments and for what he did for major junior hockey in Canada.

"This is a tremendous honour for my father," said his son Dean Chynoweth to TSN. "My father had a passion for the game of hockey and was committed to doing whatever it took to improve the game. Our entire family is very proud."

In the Linesman/Referee Category, long-time NHL linesman Ray Scapinello was elected to join the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 33-year veteran was on the lines for 2500 NHL games, 426 playoff games, 20 Stanley Cup Finals, three NHL All-Star Games, and the 1998 Winter Olympic Hockey Tournament in Nagano, Japan. He also penned a book called Between The Lines, which will soon be added to Teebz's Book Club.

"I am very appreciative that former Referee-In-Chief Scotty Morrison took a chance and gave me the opportunity to have so many enjoyable years in the NHL," Scapinello said to TSN. He can now be seen on The Score television highlight station in Canada where he appears on "The Spin" with Steve Kouleas.

Congratulations to these four deserving men on all their accomplishments. They will be officially enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 10, 2008. And despite Pierre Lebrun's assertion that the Hall of Fame missed out on an opportunity this year to elect a third player, these four men certainly are more than worthy of their elections.

Look, Gilmour is a great player, but his achievements are nowhere close to what Larionov and Anderson did. And next year's crop of players is impressive, considering these names: Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Luc Robitaille. But if Anderson had to wait nine years, why can't Gilmour? What's the rush?

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. I have some funny stuff to post tomorrow, and will continue on the charitable organization trail later this week with a couple of great organizations.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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