Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Hockey Hall of Fame 2016 Inductees

The 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees were announced yesterday in Toronto. There are four players to be inducted; however, due to the fact that Pat Quinn spent more time behind the bench than he did on the ice, it was deemed that he should enter in the “Builder Category”.

The players entering the Hall this year are: Sergei Makarov, Eric Lindros, and Rogatien “Rogie” Vachon. As is always the case, there is some discussion about who will walk through as a member of the Hall, and those who are remaining at the threshold.

There are decent goaltenders who will likely get an invitation some day-Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood, and Tom Barasso. Some skaters overlooked this time: Rod Brind’Amour, Keith Tkachuk, Vincent Damphousse, Mark Recchi, Alexander Mogilny, and Dave Andreychuck. All in good time, girls and boys.

The selection committee is composed of individuals from all walks of the game. They put their heads together, likely trying to avoid all of the lobbying that takes place prior to the selections. They know their choices are never popular.  They have broad shoulders, and can take the heat.


Rogie Vachon joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1966 and won three Stanley Cups in his first six NHL seasons. “My first shot on net was a breakaway by Gordie Howe. I stopped it, and it kept me in the league for 16 more seasons,” he reported to the committee following the announcement. Vachon was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1971, stayed in the game for 11 more years, then became a coach and executive. In Andrew Podnieks’ wonderful book, the Ultimate A-Z Guide to Everyone who has ever played in the NHL, it is written: “The simple truth of the matter is that Vachon is likely the finest goalie (certainly of the modern era) not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.” Scratch that sentence, Harold.


Eric Lindros. At times, he brought a lot of controversy on himself. Most of the time, it seemed to follow him. As an Oshawa General, he towered over the smaller Belleville Bulls at the Quinte Sports Centre. He bullied around the little guys, and became “Public Enemy Number One” while in the OHL. Once he started in the NHL, it was made quite clear to him that those tactics would not work well. Most fans will not forget the hit from Scott Stevens that left Lindros gasping for air. Even the big guys learn to keep their heads up.

That was the beginning of the “Concussion Era” in the NHL, for better or for worse. Even his towering brother had his career shortened as a result of hits to the head. It is a good thing that more care is taken in that regard in the game today. All pro sports monitor those situations much more carefully nowadays. The days are gone when they trainer said, “What day is it? Count my fingers. He’s good to go, coach.”


Sergei Makarov began his NHL career at the age of 31, in 1989. It was the year after the Flames had won the Cup. He had experienced great success on the International stage, and managed to average 25 goals per season in his first five years in the NHL. He had 86 points in 80 games in his first NHL season, and won the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year. That did not go over well with many hockey purists, as he had not come up through the normal ranks. He had spent 13 years in the Soviet Union at the professional level. He was involved in a big trade with San Jose, through Hartford, and the Whalers obtained Chris Pronger. After two years with the Sharks, he signed with Dallas, playing but four games with the Stars.

The 2016 Ceremony takes place in Toronto at the Hall of Fame on Monday, November 14th. Always a great time to be in the city!

James Hurst


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