With the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto inducting Patrick Roy in the past few days, the IIHF class of 2007 announcement flew right under the radar here in Canada.
Part of the reason is there are no household names by North American standards. Heck, you'd have to be an old school diehard of the international game to know any of the 9 players who will get their official induction on May 10, 2007.
Venjamin Alexandrov - A top forward during the Soviet's quick ascent to the top of the hockey world in the 1950s and early 1960s, Alexandrov won six world championship titles. Totalling 104 points in 11 world tournaments, 8th best all time, he also captured 3 silver and 2 bronze. He also captured Olympic gold in 1964 and 1968, and a bronze in 1960. Alexandrov died on Nov 12, 1991.
Vladimir Bouzek - Though he played in three decades, Bouzek missed the prime of his international career due to WWII service, Bouzek played in 20 national team games, scoring 17 goals. In that time he captured World Championship gold in 1947 and 1949, and a silver at the 1948 Olympics. A long time coach in his post-playing days, he died in 2006.
Josef Cerny - Cerny played 21 years with Brno in the Czechoslovakian league. In his league record 686 games he scored 403 goals, second best of all time, and captured 7 straight national titles in the 1960s. On the international stage Cerny represented his country in 210 games including in 4 Olympic Games and 12 World Championships.
Jakob Kolliker - Kolliker's 213 games with the Swiss national team still ranks as the all time record. The defensemen participated in two Olympics and 12 World Championships. He has dedicated his life to hockey, serving as a long time coach with various Swiss national and club teams to this day.
Viktor Konovalenko - Until Vladislav Tretiak came along, Viktor Konovalenko was the best Soviet goalie of all time. In nine World Championships, capturing 8 gold medals and 1 bronze. He also captured gold in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. He passed away in 1996.
Konstantin Loktev - Playing with Alexandrov and center Alexander Almetov in the 1950s and 1960s, Loktev was a powerful force in international hockey. He captured 3 world championships along with 3 silvers and 2 bronze, and an Olympic gold in 1964. He would later coach the Red Army team and serve as assistant coach to the national team in the 1970s. He died in 1998.
Esa Peltonen - Inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame way back in 1990, the IIHF is finally recognizing Peltonen as one of the best. He scored 317 goals and 527 points in 488 Finnish League games, capturing two championships along the way. He dressed for 277 national team appearances, the 3rd most by any Finn. He played in 4 Olympics (1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980) and 11 consecutive World Championships starting in 1967. In that time he scored 93 goals and 142 points.
Thomas Rundqvist - A successful veteran of the Swedish Elite League, Rundqvist spent the 1984-85 season playing in the Montreal Canadiens organization including two games in the NHL. However he quickly returned to Sweden and later Austria and had no regrets. He played in 8 world championships, earning 2 gold and 3 silver. In total he played a record 267 games for 'Tre Kroner.'
Vyacheslav Starshinov - A true legend of Soviet hockey, Starshinov was a dominant forward and captain of Spartak Moscow. He scored 405 goals in 540 domestic games, the second highest of all time, capturing 3 national titles en route. On the national stage he played in 20 World Championships, winning 9 consecutive gold medals from 1963-1971. He also earned 2 Olympic gold and participated in 1 game in the 1972 Summit Series against Canada. He rounded out his career playing and coach in Japan before returning to coach Spartak Moscow.