Hockey Hall of Fame: THW’s “Next-Best” Class of 2012

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (Ian Muttoo/Flickr)

As the Hockey Hall of Fame inducts its Class of 2012 on Monday night in Toronto, thoughts in the hockey world often drift towards the many talented hockey players (and builders) who are not in the Hall. With this in mind, we at the Hockey Writers have taken it upon ourselves to determine the “Next-Best” Class of 2012. These are the four players and one builder, as voted upon our writing and editorial staff, who are most deserving of a spot in hockey’s hallowed grounds.

Our procedure was very similar to the Hall’s actual procedures, except that internally we were quite fine with individual lobbying for particular players (or builders) and that due to logistics, we replaced the repeated run-off voting of the real HHOF balloting with a simple replacement – everyone got up to four votes for players and one vote for a builder, and the top four vote-getting players and single vote-getting builder were inducted.

DAVE ANDREYCHUK | Player Category

  • Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1963. Left wing.
  • Played with the Oshawa Generals (1980-83), Buffalo Sabres (1982-93), Toronto Maple Leafs (1993-96), New Jersey Devils (1996-99), Boston Bruins (1999-2000), Colorado Avalanche (2000), Buffalo Sabres (2000-01) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2001-06)
  • Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1st round, 16th overall, in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.
  • All-time NHL leader in power-play goals.
  • Two 50-goal seasons, two 40-goal seasons, five 30-goal seasons.
  • Won Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
  • One of the league’s all-time great offensive players, later completely changed his game to adapt to changing times and won a Stanley Cup as an entirely different type of player as when he entered the league.

PAT BURNS | Builder Category

  • Born in Montreal, Quebec in 1952, passed away in 2010.
  • Head coach of the Hull Olympiques (1984-87), Sherbrooke Canadiens (1987-88), Montreal Canadiens (1988-92), Toronto Maple Leafs (1992-96), Boston Bruins (1997-2001) and New Jersey Devils (2002-04).
  • Three-time Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s best coach (1989, 1993 and 1998).
  • Coached the New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup win in 2003.
  • 16th all-time in coaching wins (501), 18th all-time in games coached (1019).
  • One of the most respected, impactful and influential hockey minds of the modern era. Won a Jack Adams Award with three different Original Six teams.

THEOREN FLEURY | Player Category

Theo Fleury Radio Interview
Theoren Fleury (Stephen Dyrgas/Flickr)
  • Born in Oxbow, Saskatchewan in 1968. Right wing.
  • Played with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1984-88), Salt Lake City Golden Eagles (1987-89), Calgary Flames (1988-99), Tappara (1994-95), Colorado Avalanche (1999), New York Rangers (1999-2002), Chicago Blackhawks (2002-03) and Belfast Giants (2005-06)
  • Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 8th round, 166th overall, in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
  • One 50-goal season, three 40-goal seasons, four 30-goal seasons in the National Hockey League.
  • Tied for WHL scoring title with Joe Sakic in 1987-88.
  • Won World Junior Championship gold medal with Team Canada in 1988.
  • Won Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989.
  • Won Canada Cup gold medal with Team Canada in 1991.
  • Won Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2002.
  • One of the most physical, energetic players of his era, despite his stature (5-foot-6, 175 pounds) and personal problems.

PHIL HOUSLEY | Player Category

  • Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1964. Defenseman.
  • Played with the Buffalo Sabres (1982-90), Winnipeg Jets (1990-93), St. Louis Blues (1993-94), Calgary Flames (1994-96), New Jersey Devils (1996), Washington Capitals (1996-98), Calgary Flames (1998-2001), Chicago Blackhawks (2001-03) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2003)
  • Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1st round, 6th overall, in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.
  • One 30-goal season, six 20-goal seasons.
  • All-time leader in NHL games played without winning a Stanley Cup.
  • Second-most points scored in NHL history by an American-born player.
  • Won World Cup of Hockey gold medal with Team USA in 1996.
  • One of the most consistent offensive defenders in the league’s history.
Brendan Shanahan with the New York Rangers. (Photo by Troy Parla/Wikimedia Commons)

BRENDAN SHANAHAN | Player Category

  • Born in Mimico, Ontario in 1969. Left wing.
  • Played with the London Knights (1985-87), New Jersey Devils (1987-91), St. Louis Blues (1991-95), Dusseldorf EG (1994-95), Hartford Whalers (1995-96), Detroit Red Wings (1996-2006), New York Rangers (2006-08) and New Jersey Devils (2008-09)
  • Drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round, 2nd overall, in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Two 50-goal seasons, four 40-goal seasons, six 30-goal seasons.
  • Won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
  • Won Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2002.
  • Won World Championship gold medal with Team Canada in 1994.
  • Won Canada Cup gold medal with Team Canada in 1991.
  • One of the most versatile and consistent goal-scorers in NHL history.


Note: Each voter was given the option of voting for up to four players and one builder. Not everyone used all of their votes, so the total number of votes won’t entirely add up to the maximum number of possible votes.

Player Category

  • Brendan Shanahan: 25 of 28 ballots
  • Phil Housley: 11 of 28 ballots
  • Dave Andreychuk: 10 of 28 ballots
  • Theoren Fleury: 9 of 28 ballots
  • Pierre Turgeon: 7 of 28 ballots
  • Alexander Mogilny: 7 of 28 ballots
  • Tom Barrasso: 5 of 28 ballots
  • Eric Lindros: 4 of 28 ballots
  • Jeremy Roenick: 4 of 28 ballots
  • Mike Richter: 3 of 28 ballots
  • Curtis Joseph: 3 of 28 ballots
  • Mike Vernon: 2 of 28 ballots
  • Pat Verbeek: 2 of 28 ballots
  • Vincent Damphousse: 2 of 28 ballots
  • Cassie Campbell: 1 of 28 ballots
  • John Vanbiesbrook: 1 of 28 ballots
  • Bobby Smith: 1 of 28 ballots
  • Steve Larmer: 1 of 28 ballots

Builder Category

  • Pat Burns: 19 of 28 ballots
  • Fred Shero: 2 of 28 ballots

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