Finally enshrined, the Class of 2020 induction has not lost its luster with delay

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TORONTO – The “Ig-gy! Ig-gy! Ig-gy! ”Choirs began before her dress shoe left a footprint on the red carpet.

Jarome Iginla fans have been heating up a cold November night, whether it’s teammate Mike Cammalleri who called him “a better friend than he is a player” or a diehard rocking a No. 12 Sweater. throwback by Kamloops Blazers just looking for a photo op.

No, a delayed honor does not lose its luster.

So while the 2021 Hockey Hall of Fame class was supposed to be the 2020 Hall class, the patience of the six new entrants paid off on Monday night inside the Meridian Hall, just a slap-throw from Iginla from the Hall itself. .

“The words ‘welcome back’ have never meant so much,” Hall President Lanny McDonald announced after the pandemic postponed one of the brightest stars on the hockey calendar.

Even though the location was changed and the masks with the HHOF logo were worn by the honors between speeches, their delayed induction was still significant.

Iginla – the son of a Nigerian immigrant and native of Edmonton who became a legend of the Flames – captured the surrealism of it all when he flashed his signature smile and accepted his license plate from Mark Messier.

“It was one of my all-time favorites growing up. I need that photo later,” Iginla said. “This is really strong.”

The Golden Assist author reflected on Grant Fuhr and Willie O’Ree and Herb Carnegie, black players who made his dream more achievable.

“Why do you play hockey?” Iginla remembers a white boy telling him.

Watch it now.

Kim St-Pierre, 42, became only the eighth woman and the first goalkeeper to enter.

Canada’s three-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion spoke about the power of shattering glass ceilings, competition against men, and admiration for fellow Quebec goalkeeper Manon Rhéaume – who played the matches pre-season for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and in ’93.

A crowd of St-Pierre teammates came out to support her appointment, and Caroline Oulette received a special exemption: “Being friends with a goalkeeper isn’t easy.”

St-Pierre credited the women making their way into the game and called for a single professional women’s league.

“We have the power to achieve anything,” said St-Pierre.

The crowd rose to applaud.

Dressed in a shiny black three-piece tuxedo, Marian Hossa revealed that she invited Nick Lidstrom to fly from Sweden and present him with his license plate, which will now be alongside those of other Slovakian legends Stan Mikita and Peter Stastny.

Hossa thought about getting his hands on a VHS tape of Wayne Gretzky’s highlights as a boy: “He inspired me to get on the ice and try impossible things.” And then he tried to shape his pro approach to Mario Lemieux: “He let his game do the talking.”

When legendary Chicago Blackhawks defender and current Sharks of San Jose CEO Doug Wilson got the call from McDonald’s, replied, “I’m not even a Hall of Famer in my house. It is my wife”.

Wilson continued that theme from the stage, watching his wife Kathy, surrounded by some of their six grandchildren (a seventh is on the way), and calling her the heartbeat of an expanding family.

“This weekend is more about you than anyone else,” said Doug.

Wilson – the 1982 Norris winner and the most prolific blue line scorer Chicago has produced – thought back to the people who helped him but couldn’t be here: mentor Tony Esposito, first roommate Stan Mikita and his father. .

Growing up in Ottawa, Wilson’s parents encouraged him to play all sports and “find what you love”.

The love of the game was instilled in Kevin Lowe from a childhood spent in Lachute, Que., Where there were only four chases.

“Church, work, school and hockey – and not necessarily in that order,” Lowe explained.

Lowe, 62, also complained about the absence of his late father, Clifford, who once told his son that records would never hurt him: “They’re made of rubber.”

But some 1980s Oilers – Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri (who hails from Finland) – lined up to support the six-time Cup champion.

A hoarse Lowe earned one of the biggest laughs of the gala when he broke that sadly, his strained voice was due to a cold and not a Boys on the Bus party throwback night.

With Lidstrom and Mike Babcock in the theater, Steve Yzerman gave Ken Holland his builder’s plaque, showcasing the “honesty and personal approach” of four-time GM architect champion at work.

Holland kicked off his speech with the story of his NHL debut, a 25-year-old on the net for the Hartford Whalers, 41 years ago this month.

When he conceded five goals to Rangers in the second period, he thought to himself: “Ken, you will never be in the National Hockey League again.” (Not entirely true: although exiled to the minors, Holland the goalkeeper resurfaced two seasons later for three more NHL games – and a .811 save rate – with the Detroit Red Wings.)

Fair to say, Team Canada’s 2010 GM and the man currently building around Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl fared a little better on the other side of the glass.

Holland joked: “Hockey was very good to me after I stopped trying to play it.”

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