Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame will add five more plaques this year, as the selection committee released the names of the players fortunate enough to be part of the 2013 inductee class on Tuesday.
According to CBC Sports' Tim Wharnsby, winger Brendan Shanahan and defensemen Chris Chelios and Scott Niedermayer highlight the modern-day NHL players on the list:
Also named to the Hall of Fame class was former New York Rangers defenseman and legendary coach Fred Shero and women's hockey player Geraldine Heaney, who became the third female to ever make the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Chelios was the biggest shoo-in of all the finalists. One of the greatest defensemen to ever lace up a pair of skates—and easily the best American at his position in history—Chelios was a master at both ends of the ice.
Drafted No. 40 overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1981, Chelios had his first full NHL season three years later—he came up for a cup of coffee in 1983-84—and made a marked impact. He scored 64 points in that rookie campaign, becoming an All-Star and establishing himself as the two-way menace fans would come to know and love. Chelios spent his first seven seasons in Montreal, winning the Norris Trophy in 1988-89 before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the 1990-91 season.
It was in Chicago where Chelios arguably cemented his status as the best defenseman of his generation. He spent close to nine of his prime seasons in the Windy City, winning two more Norris Trophies before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the tail end of the 1998-99 season.
Expected to be a short-term fit in Detroit—Chelios was 37 when traded to the Wings—he instead wound up spending the majority of his career there. He won his second and third Stanley Cups with the Wings, winning one previously with the Canadiens, and set the NHL record for games played by a defenseman while wearing a red sweater.
Chelios left the Wings for a short stop with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009-10 before finally retiring after 26 years of service. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
Shanahan, his former teammate in Detroit, was also considered something of a mortal lock to make the Hall. One of the more highly touted wing prospects of the 1980s, Shanahan was drafted second overall in the 1987 draft by the New Jersey Devils, and he quickly emerged as a burgeoning superstar and fan favorite. One of the youngest and most promising players in the league, he was expected to help make the Devils a Stanley Cup contender.
However, Shanahan abruptly left New Jersey the first chance he could get—signing with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent in 1991. It was in St. Louis where he had his first and only 100-point season, registering 52 goals and 50 assists en route to being named an All-Star.
Detroit provided a chance for Shanahan to finally raise the Stanley Cup. Brought in while still a peak performer, Shanahan became an integral part of the Wings' sustained run of excellence. Noted for his physicality on the wing, that personality trait resonated with Detroit, with he and Chelios representing the cream of an outstanding crop of players.
Shanahan ultimately spent nine seasons in Detroit before finishing his career with a two-season stint with the New York Rangers and a one-year return to where it all started in New Jersey. He is the unofficial record-holder of Gordie Howe hat tricks, which is when a player scores a goal, posts an assist and gets into a fight all in the same game.
Completing the circle of linkage between modern players is Niedermayer, who arrived in New Jersey just as Shanahan was getting out. The third overall pick in the 1991 draft, Niedermayer is almost unequivocally the greatest defenseman in Devils history.
Unlike his two contemporaries, who bounced around a bit throughout their careers, Niedermayer played for only two franchises. He spent the first 13 seasons of his NHL career in New Jersey, earning a reputation for his all-out tenacity. As a face of the franchise with goalie Martin Brodeur, Niedermayer helped guide the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles.
After a lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season, Niedermayer signed a massive contract with the Anaheim Ducks, where he spent his last five seasons. He won a fourth championship before calling it a career following the 2009-10 season, with many feeling like he still had a ton of hockey left in his legs.
Niedermayer also won two Olympic gold medals as part of Team Canada in 2002 and 2010. He is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Shero represents a senior addition to this year's class. Long thought to be one of the major snubs almost on a yearly basis, Shero will finally get inducted into the Hall 23 years after he passed away in 1990. An innovator during his time on the bench with the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, he's most remembered as one of the great before-his-time minds of the sport.
Shero was the first to implement play systems, a full-time assistant coaching staff and have regular morning skates. His unique contributions to the game—many of which are still in place—are as much a reason for his induction as anything.
Unique might be the only proper adjective to describe Heaney. One of the more decorated female hockey players, the Canadian-born Heaney was arguably the greatest two-way defensive player in the sport's history. She helped lead Team Canada to two Olympic medals and is largely seen as one of the greatest ever female ambassadors to the sport.
2013 Hockey Hall of Fame Class
|Player||Position||Teams Played For|
Montreal Canadiens (1983-1990)
New Jersey Devils (1987-1991, 2008-2009)
New Jersey Devils (1991-2004)
Philadelphia Flyers (1971-1978) (Coach)
Team Canada accomplishments:
Seven-time gold medalist (IIHF World Women's Championships)