HHOF: Whose Names Will Be Etched into Hockey Lore in 2019
Last November, Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Alexander Yakushev, Jayna Hefford, Willie O’Ree, and 25-year NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, got “the call to the hall” and were officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Six months later, the debate surrounding the class of 2019 remains wide open as we inch closer to what could be the selection committees most challenging and ambiguous election process yet. With the annual induction ceremony just six months away, let’s take a look at some of the many deserving potential candidates that will follow 2018’s illustrious class.
While many players on this list have already been eligible for induction in the past and are strong candidates to finally get the call, the only guarantee this coming November is that the most decorated woman skater in Canada’s history, Hayley Wickenheiser, will undoubtedly get her call to the hall in just her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser’s trips to the podiums became a commonality throughout her career. 7 of her 13 medals won at the IIHF World Championships were gold, and four of her five Olympic medals were gold (2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014). Over 276 career games played, Wickenheiser tallied the Canadian women’s all-time mark in goals with 168, assists with 211, and points with 377. Wickenheiser is a pioneer because of her role in becoming the first woman outside of the goalie position to play professional hockey full-time. Her knowledge of the game has impacted more than just the Olympics and World Championships, as she currently holds a position as the Assistant Director of Player Development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Pierre Turgeon, another Canadian great who will be eligible for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame for the ninth straight year, has the outright most points of any player not yet inducted. Turgeon ended his career with an amazing 1,327 points (515 goals and 812 assists) in just 1,294 games played. Over 109 career playoff games, the centreman put up 97 points (35 goals and 62 assists). Despite never hoisting Lord Stanley, the forward won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1993 and deserves to have his name etched into history this coming November.
Roenick has been waiting for his call from the Hall for at least seven years now despite a dominant career, and sits just behind Turgeon for most career points of any eligible player that is yet to be inducted. It almost seems as if Roenick’s call from the Hall has been delayed this long because of his name being absent from the Stanley Cup Trophy. Many forget about his 1,216 points across 1,363 games (513 goals and 703 assists), and his role in helping Chicago advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992. Vincent Lecavalier, who many believe should be inducted in his first year eligible, averaged 0.783 points per game, a number that looks average when compared to Roenick’s career 0.892 average.
Daniel Alfredsson is another prime example of a player whose lack of a Stanley Cup Championship has tarnished their unprecedented impact on the game of hockey. Alfredsson tallied 1,157 career points (444 goals and 713 assists) across 18 seasons and 1,246 games in the NHL, the first seventeen of which were spent in Ottawa. The storied winger won a gold medal for Sweden in Torino during the 2006 Olympics and won a silver medal in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics. The forward won the Calder Trophy in 1995-96 and captained Ottawa’s lone Eastern Conference Champion team in history to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
Theo Fleury is yet another storied Canadian whose exploits at both the NHL and international level have been memorialized in Canada’s rich hockey history. Fleury finished his efficient and consistent career with 1,088 points (455 goals and 633 assists) in just 1,084 games. Fleury’s dominant 1994-1995 campaign earned him a spot as a Second-Team All-Star. Fleury won the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1989 and a gold medal as a member of Team Canada in Salt Lake City in 2002. Fleury has been eligible since 2009, and it is only a matter of time before the famed winger finds himself in the Hall of Fame.