The Hockey Hall of Fame has announced its 2015 class. The inductees for the November 9 ceremony will be Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger, Phil Housley, Angela Ruggiero, Peter Karmanos Jr., and Bill Hay.
Lidstrom, Pronger and Fedorov were all chosen in their first year of eligibility.
Lidstrom was always going to be a shoe-in for the Hall. The Swedish defenceman is arguably the best defenceman to ever play the game. Okay, he’s the best defenceman to ever play the game. He won the Norris Trophy seven times, second to Bobby Orr’s eight Norris Trophy wins and tied with Doug Harvey.
Lidstrom spent 20 years in the NHL, all with Detroit, and played in 1,594 games with 1,142 points. He’s sixth all-time in points at defence and won four Stanley Cups. He’s the first European player to win the Conn Smythe and the first European player to captain a Cup champ. Oh, and he finished second in Lady Byng voting five times.
Pronger is the only defenceman other than Mr. Orr to win the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy in the same season (2000). He played 1,167 games over the course of 18 NHL seasons, winning a Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He was in the Cup Final with Edmonton in 2006 and again with the Flyers in 2010.
Like Lidstrom, Pronger’s in the Triple Gold Club with Olympic gold and a World Championship in his trophy case. He was a minute-munching defenceman who played on the edge of darkness, often going over that edge, and his career was cut short by injuries. He played his last game in November of 2011.
Fedorov was with Lidstrom on the Red Wings for three of those four Cups. He won the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award in 1994 and won the Selke Trophy twice, once in 1994 and again two years later. He had 18 seasons in the NHL, spending time in Detroit, Anaheim, Columbus, and Washington.
Fedorov put together 1,179 points in 1,248 games. He had 176 points in 183 playoff games. And on international ice, he was a part of the dreaded Russians from the late 1980s and early 1990s. When he arrived with the Red Wings, Fedorov centred Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov with Viacheslav Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov on D. Those were the days.
Housley put in 21 seasons with eight different teams, skating in 1,495 games in the NHL. He scored 1,232 points, good for fourth all-time in defensive scoring. He had at least 60 points a season a dozen different times over the course of his celebrated career.
Housley, now an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators, is the second leading scorer among American-born players. Mike Modano is the first, surpassing Housley’s numbers in November of 2007. Of all the prizes won by Housley, he never collected a Stanley Cup. He did make it to the Final with the Capitals in 1998, but his team was swept by one Nick Lidstrom and the Detroit Red Wings.
Ruggiero won the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2004 as the top player in U.S. women’s collegiate hockey and she never looked back. She has four Olympic medals to her name with the Americans, collecting a gold in Nagano in 1998. Ruggiero has also led the Americans to gold and silver at several World Championships, including in Sweden in 2005 and in Switzerland in 2010.
A fixture in American professional hockey, Ruggiero played for the ECHL Tulsa Oilers in a January 2005 game and became the first woman to skate in a regular season pro game in a position other than goalie.
The 72-year-old Karmanos Jr. is the majority owner of the Carolina Hurricanes and the founder of the software company Compuware. He cofounded the Compuware Hockey organization in the late 1970s and has been an executive in the Ontario Hockey League for 30 years, owning the Plymouth Whalers – the first American team in the OHL.
Along with Compuware partner Thomas Thewes, Karmanos Jr. and Jim Rutherford purchased the Hartford Whalers in 1994 for $47.5 million. That was back when you could buy a hockey franchise for $47.5 million. The team was eventually moved to Carolina, which hasn’t made Karmanos Jr. a popular guy in Connecticut.
Finally, Bill Hay. He spent eight seasons in the NHL for the Chicago Black Hawks. No, that’s not a typo. His father Charles Hay is already in the Hall of Fame. The younger Hay started his professional career playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the Pacific Coast Hockey League. Eventually, he was called up to the Black Hawks in the NHL and put up 55 points to win the Calder Memorial Trophy in his rookie season.
Along with linemates Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, Hay helped the Black Hawks win their first Stanley Cup since 1937-1938 when they took home the victory in the 1960-1961 season. The first NCAA graduate to play in the NHL, Hay has since served as the president and COO of Hockey Canada as well as the president and CEO of the Calgary Flames and the chairman of the Hall of Fame.