The Hockey Hall of Fame announced a six-member class for 2020, including first-ballot members Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa.
The class also included defenders Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, who saw the long waits end; Canadian hockey goalie Kim St-Pierre in the women’s category; and Edmonton Oilers CEO Ken Holland in the builders category.
Iginla is one of the most respected players in recent NHL history and considered one of the game’s best ambassadors. It will be the fourth black player included, after Grant Fuhr, women’s hockey pioneer Angela James and Willie O’Ree. Iginla and Fuhr are the only black NHL players enshrined for their accomplishments on the ice, while O’Ree was chosen in the constructors category in 2018 for breaking the league color barrier 60 years earlier.
Iginla’s 625 career goals rank him 16th of all time in the NHL, and he is ranked 34th with 1,300 points in 1,554 career games with Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings . Iginla led the NHL in points and goals in 2001-02, winning the NHLPA Player of the Year award. He would lead the league in goals again in 2003-04.
His international achievements are just as excellent: two Olympic gold medals with Canada in men’s ice hockey, including leading attendance at Sidney Crosby’s “Golden Goal” to win the Vancouver 2010 Games. He also won gold in the IIHF World Championship in 1997, gold at the 2004 Hockey World Cup and gold at the 1996 world youth championship. Iginla, however, never had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
“This selection is hard to believe and it makes me reflect and look back on my career,” said Iginla. “I was always trying to do the NHL, and this recognition means a lot to me and my family.”
There was little debate about whether Hossa would be in the Hall of Fame, but his first-choice status, generally reserved for superstar players and those who racked up a lot of NHL Awards, was a slight surprise.
Hossa joins 2015 armature Chris Pronger as the only players to enter the room while still under contract. Like Pronger, Hossa qualified because he hasn’t played in three years. He retired in 2018 due to a skin disorder.
Hossa had 525 career goals and 1,134 career points, and had 89 points in 110 playoff games, which included five trips to the Stanley Cup final, winning three times with the Chicago Blackhawks. Considered one of the best defensive ends of his generation, Hossa played 1,309 games with the Blackhawks, the Ottawa Senators, the Atlanta Thrashers, the Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings.
Lowe had been eligible since 2001. He played 1,254 games in the NHL, won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers dynasty and a sixth with the New York Rangers in 1994. Considered a defensive defender and a backbone of those teams, Lowe was He received strong endorsement from former teammate Wayne Gretzky at the 2018 Hall of Fame induction.
Wilson had an even longer wait. Wilson, current general manager of the San Jose Sharks, has been eligible since 1996. He won the Norris Trophy in 1982 with Chicago and was among the top four finishers for the award on three other occasions. His offensive numbers are among the best among defenders: an average of 0.81 points per game, ranking ninth among defenders with at least 650 games played. He was a model of consistency for about 11 seasons, but overshadowed by members of the Hall of Fame such as Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Rod Langway.
St-Pierre had the most appearances and wins as a goalkeeper for the Canadian women’s national team. She won three Olympic gold medals with Canada and five more in the IIHF World Championship. She became one of only three women at the time to win a Clarkson Cup, the championship in the defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League, a world title and an Olympic title. She was the first woman to win a men’s regular season game in Canadian inter-university sports history with McGill in 2003.
“Hockey has always been my passion and this is a very special honor,” said St-Pierre. “When I was a kid, they were just kids, and when that changed, my dream came true. I am grateful and would like to thank all my coaches and my family.”
Holland, currently general manager of the Oilers, was the general manager of Red Wings from 1997 to 2014. He facilitated a series of Red Wings appearances and championships that included Stanley Cup victories in 1998, 2002 and 2008. During his tenure in Detroit His team won more combined regular season and playoff games (1,044) than any other NHL franchise. Holland was also instrumental behind the scenes in the NHL, helping bring concepts such as 3-on-3 overtime to life.
Among the players still awaiting his Hall of Fame call: forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Mogilny, Rod Brind’amour and Jeremy Roenick; defender Sergei Gonchar; and goalkeepers Tom Barrasso and Curtis Joseph. Next year’s class could include Daniel and Henrik Sedin eligible for the first year.
The Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for November 16 in Toronto, but it is unclear if it will happen. The NHL is still working to try to resume its season after suspending play in March, with the playoffs possibly extending until October and delaying the start of the next season until December or January.
The 18-member selection committee voted remotely for the first time due to the travel difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Those who live in the Toronto area gathered in a conference room to determine the armatures, who received congratulatory calls from the chairman of the board, Lanny McDonald.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.