Tuesday, June 30, 2015


2015 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees



The 2015 class has been selected to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is a large group, with five players in the “Player” category, and two in the “Builder” category.



One of the members selected to the Builder Category is Bill Hay, much more commonly known as “Red” Hay. During his playing days, he did have red hair; however, he is a little longer in the tooth now, approaching his 80th birthday in December. He is a little gray at the temples now.



Red was a member of the Chicago Black Hawks for his entire NHL career. He was the “Rookie of the Year” his first season. For much of his career with the Hawks, he played on a line with Bobby Hull and Murray Balfour. It was dubbed “The Million Dollar Line”, and he was the playmaker on the line. They won the Cup in 1961, following a drought that began in 1938. As all Hawks fans realize, it was a number of years before the Hawks reached the pinnacle again.



When he retired from hockey, he immersed himself in the oil business for 23 years. Following that stint, he joined Hockey Canada at age 55. he has been involved in hockey operations since that time, serving most recently as the Chairman of the Hall of Fame.



Peter Karmanos is the other nominee in the Builder group. Born and raised in Michigan, he has worked tirelessly to promote hockey. “Hockey has a special place in my heart. It is the greatest team sport, and I believe the greatest game a boy or girl could play,” he indicated when told of his honour. He has been involved in the game at all levels. He was awarded a franchise in the Ontario Hockey League, now known as the Plymouth Whalers. In 1994, he purchased the Hartford Whalers, and later moved them to Carolina as the Hurricanes. In 1998, he purchased the Florida Everblades, and the Germain Arena in Estero.



Naturally, hockey fans are more interested in the players who will be inducted. The key this year is that three of the four NHL players to be honoured are defencemen. Not always the case. The female selected, Angela Ruggiero, also patrolled the blueline. An American from California, she played her college hockey at Harvard. In 2003, she was ranked as the top woman defenceman in the world. She retired in 2011, but continues to work in the sports field with the International Olympic Committee, and with the World Anti-Doping Agency.



Sergei Fedorov was the first Russian to score 1 000 points in the NHL. He won three Stanley Cups with the Wings, after escaping from the Soviet Union in 1990. He won the Selke Trophy twice as the top defensive forward in the NHL. He won the Hart Trophy as the League’s MVP in 1994, and was an all star six times.



Phil Housley scored more points than all other American defencemen. He played in Seven All Star games during his 23 year career in the NHL. He played for seven teams in the league, mostly with Buffalo. He played his first NHL game the year he finished high school. On many occasions he was a stalwart on the blueline for American squads in international play.



The James Norris Trophy is awarded annually to the league’s top defenceman. Nicklas Lidstrom has received that award seven times, second only to Bobby Orr. He was runner-up three times. He won four Stanley Cups with the Wings, anchoring the defence. He is most gracious about his acceptance to the Hall: “I took a lot of pride being dedicated to the game, so it means a great deal to me to be recognized by those who know the game the best”.



Chris Pronger is not everyone’s favourite player. One tough customer, he won the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy in 2000. He combined with Al MacInnis when he was with the Blues to form the most dominant defensive pair in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007, and also won two Gold Medals for Canada in the Olympics.


The ceremony takes place in early November. Should be a great night!


June 30, 2015.

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