They were introduced Monday night as the ‘Lennon and McCartney’ of the NHL.
And after they pleased, pleased, pleased so many fans in Anaheim and elsewhere, the long and winding road brought Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya to Toronto and into the Hockey Hall Of Fame together.
“My brother in this life and the next,” Kariya said of Selanne as he took his turn at the podium receiving his plaque.
The Finnish Flash and the Quiet One were the highlight of the seven-person class of 2017 with fellow NHL forwards Dave Andreychuk and Mark Recchi, the fifth female in the Hall, Danielle Goyette, builder Jeremy Jacobs and family members of absent coaching legend Clare Drake.
Selanne once thought the NHL “was too far” for him to reach, but he scored 684 goals, the most by anyone in his Scandinavian country. He did work the national blue and white colours into his tux for the occasion.
One of the league’s friendliest players, Selanne missed no one in his speech, from the people of Winnipeg to teammate Teppo Numminen, who translated travel itineraries for the rookie so he wouldn’t miss a bus or plane during his 76-goal season. Late player agent Don Baizley, the doctor who rehabilitated his knee in 2004, and former Ducks general manager Jack Ferreira were also singled out, the latter for arranging his trade from Manitoba.
“It was minus-28 when I was traded, plus-28 when I arrived in Anaheim,” laughed Selanne, named one of the NHL’s top 100 players. “So thank you.”
Selanne and Kariya both saluted linemate Steve Rucchin, whom they joked did all the forechcking and corner work to make them look good. Kariya, his career shortened by head trauma, managed 989 points in 989 regular season games.
The tears came quickly for Julian Andreychuk, as soon as Dave mentioned the sacrifices of his steelworker parents from Hamilton, Ont., who were in the crowd.
“I began playing at seven years old — that’s starting out late these days,” quipped Andreychuk, who used his stick skills and large frame to stay in the league more than 20 years, long enough to captain the Lightning to the 2004 Cup and score a record 274 power-play goals.
Recchi won Cups with three different teams, just one of 11 men to have that distinction. But it all began in Kamloops where many of his junior connections remain and he was given a chance to play despite his size, a chance affording him a 22-year NHL career.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending than to win a Cup (back in B.C. against the Canucks) with Mr. Jacobs and the Bruins,” he said of Boston’s 2011 win, capping his playing days.
Goyette, winner of multiple championships for Canada, told the story from the 2002 Olympics, when men’s coach Pat Quinn was sitting on a bench and spotted her and teammate Geraldine Heaney. They talked hockey and he promised them each one of his famous cigars if they won the final against the US. They had to kill off a number of penalties at the start, but delivered the gold in an exciting game.
Quinn was as captivated as any fan watching that match in Salt Lake City and made good on his promise of a stogie as the Canadian men prepared to face the U.S. in their own date with history.
“I will tell the guys to play like the girls and they’ll know what I mean,” Goyette recalled of the late Quinn’s promise. “That’s when I knew we had made a big impression.”
Also honoured Monday, Cam Cole, formerly of the National Post and Edmonton Journal, recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Award for hockey writing excellence, while the late broadcaster Dave Strader, named Foster Hewitt Award winner.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies