The 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class is shy of Stanley Cup winners, but full of fascinating stories.
For the first time since 2010, when Dino Sikareli and female stars Angela James and Cammy Granato went, the selection committee did not select the player who won the trophy.
Yet Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Daniel Alfredson and Roberto Luongo were all thousand-player players who made an impact on the two Canadian hockey markets.
And Herb Carnegie, who has never lived to see today’s minority players push back so hard for their place in the game, who started first, entered as a builder. At the annual meeting in Toronto, the Hall Selection Committee on Monday named Ricca Salinen, a forward of the five-year-old Finnish national women’s team. The induction night is November 14th.
Not surprisingly, identical twin sedans were selected in the first year of their qualification, as was NetMinder Luongo, who spent time with them in Vancouver. Alfredson’s five-year wait ended during a long campaign in Ottawa to elect a popular senator captain.
But, of course, to settle Alfie’s question is to complain more about stopping others in the hockey world. Despite Alexander Mogilini scoring more goals than Alfredson and winning the cup, Yonge St. is still out of the temple. Also, his two Russian contemporaries, Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov, were admitted years ago. Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash, two influential first-year forwards, have now joined the long-awaited list.
And, once again, the push from fans for Team Canada hero Paul Henderson – in the 50sTh Anniversary of the summit series – did not vote for the committee.
The Hall of Fame Moment and the Hall of Fame career are two different things, and Henderson and his colleagues will have to be content with naming it the ‘Team of the 20th Century’.
Only one of the 18 committee members can nominate and 14 will have to vote by secret ballot for approval.
Dave Palin, a former Leafs executive and now TSN commentator, described Center Henrik and left-wing Daniel as “two brains with a single mind.” Even with different sweater numbers it was hard to tell them apart on the ice
“He blew my mind (in practice), how he always knew where the other was.” Luongo said. “When I traded there (from Florida) I had a very difficult time (recognizing their red heads from the snow). It was always a 50-50 estimate. After a while you will see that one was more handsome than the other, but I will not tell anyone. Glad to see that they are now in management (Special Advisor to Canucks).
They had 1,000-plus points each and they haven’t bowled in 17 seasons, yet they wanted more than a cup final.
“The goal was to keep our heads down and get to work every day,” Henrik said. “When we retired, we can say that we benefited a lot from our talent.”
Alfredson thanked many of his supporters in Bytown and will take on more roles with the team after passing former owner Eugene Melanick and the proposed new downtown arena. When it was 8pm in Sweden, Alfredson had another year to go until he received a phone call from Mike Gartner, chairman of the selection committee.
“I think this is my playing career (instead of putting his name in the discussion in the hall to public outcry), but having a relationship with the city and the fans feels special.”
Luongo spent a few years in the extended Panthers and Vancouver with huge scrutiny when they couldn’t win the cup, but Strombone 1, its alter-ego Twitter handle, kept it light.
“It was a big part of showing who I was and facing a lot of (pressure) to make fun of myself. It was very therapeutic for me, ”he said.
Luongo saw a lot of changes in his position in almost 20 years, until last season’s league order. He is now helping the Panthers goalkeepers navigate that water.
“It’s hard for them, but it’s exciting hockey, the kind we want to see. I’m glad we didn’t have to make the net bigger, which was discussed while I was playing, but we had to create more offense. As a goalkeeper, it’s just about adaptation. This helped me to stay in the league longer, not to rely on what I knew, but to improve.
Carnegie died in 2012 at the age of 92, a school and arena named for him in his native Toronto, but the path for other black players and minorities remains to be determined. He was hugely intelligent in post-war sports, but racism kept him away from the NHL. He persevered when the New York Rangers offered him a contract for less money than he earned in senior hockey in Quebec.
Willie O’Reilly finally broke the color barrier in the early 60’s, but Carnegie continued to advocate for more Canadians with an unconventional hockey background to learn skating.
“Today will be his tearful laugh,” said daughter Bernice, who helped update the book on his life. Fly in a tray of milk. “I can’t be happier. Our phone hook is ringing, e-mails are accumulating and we are crying.
“People don’t understand who my grandfather was,” added Rane Carnegie, whom Harb helped coach in his own hockey career. “He was very grateful for the grace he had given all his life, for making the world a better place. This is the highest honor. It belongs to him. ”
Nine years before scoring a goal in the first Olympic women’s hockey game at the 1998 Nagano Games, Salinen joined the Finnish national team in 1989 (and led the tournament with 12 points in six games). She won a bronze medal, retired from the 2002 Games, was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2010, but returned to the national team in 2013 after giving birth to three children. She played in two more Olympics.