Monday, November 12, 2012

Hockey Hall of Fame Induction

Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin were inducted into the @HockeyHallFame in #Toronto on Monday, November 12, 2012 in the Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place.
Even as the NHL languishes in the throes of labour negotiations and lockouts the best can always be honoured and on June 26 Hockey Hall of Fame CEO and Chairman Bill Hay, along with Co-Chairmen Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn announced the Playor Category inductees for 2012. The hockey legends were welcomed as Honoured Members as a result of their contributions to hockey. 
This event played out over a Hockey Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Weekend which had tributes to the inductees, autographed giveaways, guest appearances and the Induction Celebration Gala on the night of the November 12. 

The Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic Sunday was held at the Air Canada Centre on November 11. "Get ready for your captain’s return to the ice! The Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic highlights the Sunday afternoon schedule of the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. Honoured Members Doug Gilmour and Bryan Trottier will captain two legendary all-star teams starring this year’s Hall of Fame Inductees – Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure – and other hockey legends. Prior to the game, witness hockey history as the Class of 2012 receive their Official Honoured Member Blazers and Watches in a special on-ice ceremony at 2:00 p.m. Plus, enjoy pre-game and half-time performances by legendary Canadian musicians, the Spoons."

Here is the news release, including player photos, describing the individual players.

Pavel Bure, a native of Moscow, Russia, joined the Vancouver Canucks for the 1991-92 NHL season and that season won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year. A six-time NHL All-Star, he was named to the first team in 1994. As a Florida Panther, he was the NHL's top goal scorer for two consecutive seasons, from 1999 to 2001, before finishing his career with the New York Rangers in 2003.

"It is a tremendous honour to be selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Bure. "Growing up I never even thought I would be able to play in the NHL, much less make it into the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Adams Oates played three seasons with RPI of the ECAC before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Red Wings in 1985. He went on to play 19 NHL seasons with seven teams, including four 100-plus point seasons. The sixth all-time NHL career leader in assists with 1,063, Oates retired in 2004.

"Growing up I was a guy who was kind of overlooked and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to RPI and have the time for my game to mature," said Oates. "This is a tremendous honour and I look back and realize how lucky I was to have great coaches to help me along the way."

Joe Sakic grew up in Burnaby, British Columbia, before starring with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, winning the CHL's Player of the Year Award in in 1987-88. Drafted 15th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1987 Entry Draft, Joe moved with the team to Colorado and went on to play his entire 20-year career with the same organization. Sakic captained the team for 17 seasons, second longest in NHL history and won Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001. An NHL First Team All-Star on three occasions, Sakic also played for Canada at three Olympic Games, winning gold and being named MVP in 2002.

"As a kid I always dreamed about making the NHL, but never really thought at all about the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Sakic. "I was fortunate to play 20 seasons, which gave me the opportunity to build on my list of accomplishments. Having great teammates and coaches was a key component of this."

Mats Sundin was born in Bromma, Sweden and was the first European born player to be drafted first overall in the NHL Entry Draft, in 1989 by the Quebec Nordiques. Mats spent 13 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in goals with 420 and assists with 567. Sundin is the first Swedish-born player to reach 1,000 points in the NHL. He represented his home country internationally on 14 occasions, with the culmination being an Olympic gold medal in 2006.

"Three years have passed since I retired and it makes me realize how privileged I was to play my entire career in Canada, where hockey really matters," said Sundin. "Having my hobby and love for a sport become my livelihood really allowed me to live out my dream."

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