The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2007 has been announced. Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens, as well as NHL executive Jim Gregory will be inducted officially on November 12th, 2007. (photo credit: TSN)
Players not garnering enough support include first time eligible player Igor Larionov, Adam Oates, and Claude Lemieux. Overlooked for a second or more time are Pavel Bure, Glenn Anderson, Doug Gilmour, Dino Ciccarelli, Tom Barrasso, and Mike Richter.
All five of today's inductees are definitely deserving of induction, and it is shame the others had to be left out this time around. But for me Igor Larionov was a no-brainer on par with Messier and Francis.
I'm well researched in the area of major international hockey events and Soviet hockey, and Larionov is every bit the superstar and the class sportsman that the Hall is looking for. Sure his NHL career wasn't as spectacular as most others mentioned above, but his prime days in the Soviet Union were amazing. All those Olympics, World Championships, and Canada Cups should have gotten him inducted much like Valeri Kharlamov. Then you couple a lengthy NHL career, complete with 3 Stanley Cup titles, and the contributions off the ice, and he still will get in, much like Viacheslav Fetisov. Hopefully Larionov won't be ignored like his old running mate Sergei Makarov, another spectacular player who deserves recognition.
The Hockey Hall of Fame needs to end their bias against the Soviet players. As George James Malik of MLive.com says:
It's the Hockey Hall of Fame, remember, not just the NHL Hall of Fame. And while Igor's contributions to three Stanley Cup championships amounts to plenty, his international career -- like that of Hall of Famer Slava Fetisov before him -- adds up to a whole lot more.
Well, at least Larionov is handling the rejection better than I am. Besides, who do you take out of the equation to let Larionov in? Messier and Francis were locks, and MacInnis had so much selection committee support from the likes of Lanny McDonald, Eric Duhatschek and John Davidson that there may have only been one spot open.
Also See: Official HHOF Press Release - Hockey Hall of Fame website
TSN.ca - ESPN.com - Globe & Mail
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