Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot, finally got their induction ceremonies Monday in Toronto.
The Class of 2020 also featured Ken Holland, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre and Doug Wilson. The induction was postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hall of Fame previously decided not to elect a Class of 2021 to give the Class of 2020 the sole spotlight.
Iginla, 44, was a four-time All-Star during a 20-year career that saw him play for the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings. He scored 625 goals and notched 675 assists in 1,554 games.
Iginla won the Maurice Richard Trophy (top scorer) twice, the Pearson Trophy (MVP), the Art Ross Trophy (points leader), King Clancy Memorial Trophy (leadership and humanitarian contributions) and the Mark Messier Leadership Award during his career.
In his Hall of Fame induction speech, Iginla acknowledged such hockey racial-line-breaking pioneers as Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr.
“Being a young Black hockey player, it was important for me to see other Black players in the NHL,” Iginla said. “In my first year in hockey as a 7-year-old, a kid came up to me and said, ‘Why are you playing hockey?’ Over the years I would hear, ‘What are your chances of playing in the NHL? There’s not many Black players.’
“I heard other stuff. Luckily, there was only a few.”
Lowe won six Stanley Cup championships, five with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. He recorded 431 points (84 goals, 347 assists) in 1,254 games.
“My Hall induction doesn’t happen because of my statistical merit,” Kevin Lowe said. “I want to thank the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee for recognizing a player like me.”
Lowe was a lynchpin of 5 Stanley Cup Championships with the Edmonton Oilers. During the offensive days of the 80’s, he was the defensive conscience for a team that could run you out of the building. Remember, Lowe played on a team that featured scoring dynamos Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey. Still the defensive minded Lowe never topped more than 46 points.
On December 11th, 1992 Neil Smith made a key move in building his 1994 Championship team. Kevin Lowe was acquired for prospect Roman Oksiuta and a 3rd round pick. The 33 year old defenseman was brought in to teach a young defense that featured Brian Leetch, Jeff Beukeboom, and Sergei Zubov how to win. He spent almost 4 seasons with the Rangers and played through injuries in the 1994 playoffs but only missed one game. That would be the 6th Stanley Cup ring Lowe would win and it may have been the sweetest.
The defensive stalwart of the 1994 Rangers team that ended a 54 year Stanley Cup drought had a message for another NHL franchise suffering from a long gap between Championships.
“Maybe the Leafs should get us,” he laughed. “Hey, I couldn’t help myself.”
Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020
Hossa, 42, was part of Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In a 17-year career that also featured stints with the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, he amassed 525 goals and 609 assists in 1,309 games.
“I’m grateful to the game I love for everything it has given me,” Hossa said Monday. “The losses that taught me more than the wins, the players and the coaches who contribute so much to my success, the family who provide support I needed to get here because you don’t get to a place like the Hockey Hall of Fame alone.”
Holland, the Oilers’ current general manager, was selected to the Hall of Fame in the “builder” category. Holland, 66, was part of three Stanley Cup titles during his 22-year run (1997-2019) as the Detroit Red Wings’ GM.
St-Pierre, a star goaltender, led the Canadian women’s team to Olympic gold medals in 2002, 2006 and 2010 as well as five world championships.
“It is our responsibility to make sure that women’s hockey and girls hockey will continue to grow. We are all dreaming about a Women’s Professional Hockey League and now it is time to make it a reality,” she said.
Wilson, now the Sharks’ GM, played 14 seasons with the Blackhawks and two with San Jose. He racked up 827 points (237 goals, 590 assists) in 1,024 games.
–Field Level Media