Today, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced it’s class of 2020. This year’s player inductees are Marian Hossa, Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, and Doug Wilson. Ken Holland also joins the Hall in the builder’s category.
The only member of the 2020 HHOF class to be inducted in the builder’s category, Ken Holland’s management career is storied. After his playing career ended in 1983, he joined the Red Wings as a Western Canada amateur scout. A few years later, they promoted him to amateur scouting director. Then, seven years later, the Red Wings promoted to assistant general manager. Three years later, on July 18th, 1997, Holland became the general manager of the Red Wings, a position he held for the next 22 years.
During his time as Detroit’s GM, Holland was one of the most successful GM’s in the league, and for good reason. Under his management, the Red Wings won the Central Division ten times, the regular-season conference title five times, the President’s Trophy four times, and the Stanley Cup three times. The team also won more regular season and playoff games than any other team during that span (789 and 118, respectively).
On April 19th, 2019, the Red Wings announced that they had promoted Holland to senior vice-president of the club and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. This move was made to make way for Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman to be the general manager of the club. However, Holland wanted to remain an active, day-to-day decision-maker. So, just 18 days later, the Oilers signed Holland to a five-year, $25 million contract, and named him their president of hockey operations and general manager.
In short, to say Holland has had an outstanding management career would be a massive understatement. Few have had more success than him at any point in the league’s history. There’s absolutely no denying that he has earned his spot in the HHOF.
The first player announced as a member of the HHOF’s class of 2020, this was the first year Hossa was eligible to be selected. And boy does he deserve it. The Ottawa Senators drafted the right-winger from Stará Lubovna, SVK 12th overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the first seven years of his career with the team, amassing 390 points in 467 games. He added 34 points in 51 playoff games during that time as well. After the 2004-05 lockout season, Hossa joined the Atlanta Thrashers organization, where he put up 156 points in 142 games. He played in just four playoff games for Atlanta, during which he tallied a single assist.
At the trade deadline during his second season with the Thrashers, they traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His Penguins career was a very short one, spanning just 12 regular season and 20 playoff games. He produced ten points for the team in the regular season, and 26 in the playoffs. Despite being offered a nice contract with the Penguins, Hossa chose to sign a one-year, $7.45 million deal with Detroit on July 1st, 2008. He thought he’d have a better chance to win the Cup with the Red Wings. Unfortunately, irony got the best of him, and they lost to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. Hossa tallied 71 points in 74 regular-season games, and 15 points in 23 playoff games for the Red Wings.
Hossa then signed a massive 12 year, $62.8 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, and he spent the final eight seasons of his career with them. During his time there, he played in 534 regular season and 107 playoffs games, during which he produced 415 and 73 points, respectively, and won three more Stanley Cups.
Unfortunately, a progressive skin condition forced Hossa to stop playing professionally after the 2016-17 season. He plans on formally announcing his retirement once his contract expires in 2021. All in all, Hossa tallied 525 goals and 609 assists for a total of 1134 points in 1309 NHL games. He won four Stanley Cups and went to the NHL All-Star game five times. He was also named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 1999 and the Second All-Star team in 2009. Hossa also represented his native Slovakia in international play on numerous occasions, including at eight World Championships, four Olympic Games, and two World Cup of Hockeys. Finally, he won the Golden Puck as the Slovakian Player of the Year four times over his career.
You don’t have to know much about hockey to know Hossa deserves his spot in the HHOF. Hossa was a tremendous winger with great offensive instincts. He was also strong at both ends of the ice and possessed nice hands and a great shot. Plus, he was extremely strong and therefore impossible to get the puck from. He was the kind of player everyone loved to watch even if he wasn’t on your team, and I’m happy to see him get the recognition he deserves for it.
Perhaps the surest bet of this year’s HHOF class, like Hossa, Iginla was also in his first year of eligibility. The Dallas Stars drafted the right-winger from Edmonton, Alberta 11th overall of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. However, he didn’t play a single game for the organization. Instead, he joined the Calgary Flames organization immediately following the conclusion of his excellent junior career with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in 1996. Iginla went on to play 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames, amassing a total of 1,095 points in 1,219 regular-season games. He added 29 points in 54 playoff games as well. He was an alternate captain for the team from 1996-2003 before being named captain at the start of the 2003-04 season, a position he held until he was traded to the Penguins at the deadline in 2013.
Iginla’s stint with the Penguins was brief, spanning just 13 regular season and 15 playoff games. During that time, he produced 11 and 12 points, respectively. He then spent a year with the Bruins, playing in 78 regular-season games and tallying 61 points, as well as 12 playoff games, during which he put up seven points. Iginla then played in 225 games for the Colorado Avalanche, in which he produced 124 points. Finally, he spent the last 19 games of his playing career, over which he tallied nine points, with the LA Kings after being traded there at the deadline during his third season in Colorado. Iginla formally announced his retirement from professional hockey on July 18th, 2018.
All in all, Iginla tallied 625 goals and 675 assists for a total of 1300 points in 1554 career NHL games. He’s the Flames all-time leader in goals, points, and games played, and he’s second all-time in assists. The team retired his number in a ceremony on March 2nd, 2019. Over the course of his NHL career, he won two Rocket Richard trophies, an Art Ross Trophy, a Lester B. Pearson Award (now known as the Ted Lindsay Award), a King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the NHL Foundation Player Award, and a Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Iginla was also named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 1997, the First All-Star team three times, the Second All-Star team one time, and he went to the All-Star game six times. Unfortunately, the one trophy he never got during his playing career was a Stanley Cup. Iginla also represented Canada internationally on six occasions (one World Junior Championship, a World Championship, a World Cup of Hockey, and three Olympics). He won gold in all but the 2006 Olympics.
So, yeah, it’s safe to say Iginla is deserving of being a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. I and many others would’ve seriously questioned the selection committee had they not selected him this year. He’s a true leader on and off the ice and rightfully earned his place among the legends of the game.
Kevin Lowe has been waiting a long time for his call to the Hall of Fame. The Edmonton Oilers drafted the defenseman from Lachute, Quebec,21st overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the organization. During that time, he played in 966 games, tallied 369 points, and won five Stanley Cups. Lowe also played in 170 playoff games for the team during that time, over which he put up 52 points.
He then went on to play four seasons with the Rangers. Lowe appeared in a total of 217 regular-season games for them and produced 48 points. He won another Stanley Cup with the Rangers. Lowe also played in 42 playoff games for the Rangers, over which he tallied six points. Then, he returned to Edmonton to finish his career, playing in 71 regular seasons and two playoff games. He produced 14 and zero points (respectively) over his final two seasons. Unfortunately, an inner-ear virus that affected his balance just seven games into his final season.
All in all, Lowe appeared in 1254 career NHL games, over which he produced 84 goals and 347 assists for a total of 431 points. He won a total of six Stanley Cups, a King Clancy Memorial Trophy, and he went to the NHL All-Star game seven times. Rowe also represented Canada internationally twice, once at the World Championships and one Canada Cup. Since retiring from playing, Lowe has held several different executive positions within the Oilers organization and for Team Canada.
Despite his stats not being flashy, Lowe deserves a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was one of the top defensive defensemen in the league during the peak of his playing career. He even has a trophy named after him in the QMJHL awarded annually to the best defensive defenseman in the league. It’s easy to see that he deserves this honor after 20 long years of waiting.
Kim St-Pierre is the only woman to enter the HHOF this year, and the first female goaltender to ever be. After playing boys hockey up until she was 18, the Châteauguay, Quebec native goaltender played four seasons for McGill University from 1999-2003 (she took the 2001-02 season off to focus just on playing for the national team in the Olympics) while also playing internationally with Team Canada. She also appeared in a total of three Olympics (0.58 GAA, 0.953 SV% in eight games), nine World Championships (0.74 GAA, 0.959 SV% in 20 games), and one Four Nations Cup for Team Canada. She won gold in all but her final four World Championships, which she won silver during.
St-Pierre also played for the Montreal Axion of the NWHL in 2006-07. She then played for the Montreal Stars of the CWHL from 2007-2013. During her time with the Stars, she posted a 1.39 GAA and won the CWHL championship in 2011. Unfortunately, her career save percentage for them is unknown, as it isn’t available from her first season.
Needless to say, given her stats, St-Pierre was a brick wall during her playing career. All told, she won a total of nine gold and four silver medals, as well as one CWHL championship. She was also named the CWHL’s top goaltender twice, the top goaltender at the World Championships three times and at the Olympics once. Plus, she was a CWHL Eastern All-Star and First Team All-Star, respectively. Like all of the others on this list, she more than earned her spot among hockey’s greats.
The final member of the 2020 HHOF class is Doug Wilson. The Chicago Blackhawks drafted the defenseman from Ottawa, Ontario sixth overall of the 1977 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the first 14 seasons of his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks, over which he played in 938 games and totaled 779 points. He also played 95 playoff games for the Blackhawks, over which he produced 80 points. Wilson then spent the final two seasons of his career with the Sharks. He played in 86 games and tallied 48 points for the organization. He also served as the first captain in Sharks history during his two seasons with the team. Wilson also represented Canada internationally at the 1984 Canada Cup. He played seven games in that tournament and put up three points as Team Canada won the gold medal.
All in all, Wilson played in 1024 career NHL games and produced 237 goals and 590 assists for a total of 827 points. He’s the Blackhawks all-time leader in goals and points by a defenseman. He also led the team in scoring for ten consecutive seasons. Also, Wilson won the Norris Trophy once and went to the All-Star game eight times. Finally, Wilson was a First Team All-Star once and a Second Team All-Star twice. Unfortunately, Wilson never won a Stanley Cup during his playing career. Since retiring, he’s been in numerous executive roles for the Sharks, spending the past 18 years as general manager.
Frankly, it’s surprising it took this long for Wilson to get into the Hall of Fame. His resume more than qualifies him for it, yet he didn’t get in for over 24 years. But, the wait is finally over for Wilson, and I’m sure he’s ecstatic about it.
2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Class is Outstanding
Well, if you made it through all of that, thank you. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class is nothing short of outstanding. The induction weekend festivities are set to kick off on Friday, November 13th. If that happens, the ceremony will be on Monday, November 16th. However, that is all subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman of the HHOF board Lanny McDonald said they intend to make a final decision regarding induction weekend by mid-August.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
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