On Monday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced seven new members have been elected for the 2017 class. The newest members will consist of Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Danielle Goyette (a retired Canadian women’s ice hockey player), Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and college hockey coach Clare Drake. Jacobs and Drake were each elected as builders.
Of the group, the ‘Finnish Flash’ (Selanne) was the sure-fire selection. As a rookie, in the 1992-93 regular season, he set an NHL rookie record with 76 goals for the Winnipeg Jets. By the time his career had ended, he’d scored 684 times. He played 21 years and probably could have played a couple more.
His 76 goals is still a record and likely an untouchable one as the next closest player to get near that mark is Hall of Famer Mike Bossy who is second with 53 goals. Of active players, only Alex Ovechkin ranks in the top ten with 52 goals in 2005-06.
“It’s an amazing feeling …,” Selanne told TSN. “To be honest, I was checking the phone to make sure I didn’t miss the call.”
Selanne will be joined by Kariya, a former teammate, and dynamic impact player. Kariya’s career was cut short thanks to concussion-related issues, but in the time he played, he impacted the game like few others. As a duo, Selanne and Kariya were close to unstoppable.
From 1995 to 2000, the two decided to sign together in Colorado in an attempt to make a run at the Stanley Cup in 2003. It was, at the time, an unprecedented decision as Kariya took one of the biggest pay cuts in NHL history to join the group and play with Selanne. That season didn’t work out quite as planned, falling short in the second round.
Kariya finished his career with 989 points in 989 games in the NHL. He had two 100-plus point seasons (1995-96 and 1998-99) and in 1996-97, he was one point shy of 100 with 99 points as part of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. It took being passed over four times by the committee before Kariya was selected.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was possible,” Kariya said. “This is an incredible honor.” Today Kariya stays fairly far away from the game of hockey.
Andreychuk spent his notable NHL years as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in his ninth year of eligibility. His selection was a long time coming.
Andreychuk had 1338 points in 1639 games and has the most power-play goals (274) in league history. He won his only Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the age of 40. He was their captain at the time.
Recchi was selected in his fourth year of eligibility. Interesting about Recchi is that he’s one of just a handful of players in NHL history to win three Stanley Cups with three different teams. He had three 100-point seasons over a 22-year career and ranks fifth all-time in games played (1,652). He’s also the 12th-highest scorer in NHL history with 1533 points.
Goyette won two Olympic golds for Canada and eight world championship crowns. Drake was a Canadian and coaching legend, best known as the 28-year coach for the University of Alberta. He coached the Golden Bears to six University Cup championships. Jacobs is the influential owner of the Boston Bruins, having owned the team since 1975 and served as chairman of the league’s Board of Governors since 2007.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
Follow below on any my social media accounts.