June 21, 2010

HHOF Class of 2010?

The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets on Tuesday to decide who will be inducted into it's hallowed halls later this year.

Here is the summary of selection procedures and the Hall of Fame bylaws that the 18 member selection committee uses to reach their collective decision. General summary:
  • Player candidates must have been retired for at least three years.
  • Successful candidates will receive votes from at least 75% of the committee members
  • No more than 4 players can be inducted.
In addition, this will be the first year female players will have their own category in which to be honoured. Only two female players can be enshrined in one year. Interestingly, there are no females on the selection committee.

Referees and builders (coaches, management etc) have their category. Earlier this year the Hall of Fame announced Marc de Foy (Le Journal de Montreal) as the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for hockey journalism and Ron Weber (Washington Capitals play by play man) for the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

Candidates For 2010

Unlike in two of the previous three years, there is no obvious choice amongst the first year eligible candidates. Those names include: Eric Lindros, Joe Nieuwendyk, John Leclair, Peter Bondra, Pierre Turgeon, and Sean Burke.

The thin first-year class suggests a couple of hold-over candidates from previous years will get serious consideration. Such players include Theo FleuryDoug Gilmour, Adam Oates, Sergei Makarov, Guy Carbonneau, Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli, Tom Barrasso, Pat Verbeek, Mike Richter, Alexander Mogilny, Dave Andreychuk and Phil Housley

The Class of 2010?

Last week I did a series of articles outlining the respective cases of many of the top candidates. Here's a recap of the feature I called Hall of Fame Worthy?
Much to my surprise, I found myself arguing that these players are all Hall of Fame worthy. Not necessarily in 2010 but eventually, given the Hall of Fame's low standards. Perhaps I should say I found myself conceding in some cases.

The one player who surprised me the most was Doug Gilmour. I entered the process believing he was very much worthy, and very likely in 2010. After going through the pros and cons, I now wonder if he is of Hall of Fame calibre.

If I had a vote, my ballot would include Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates, Eric Lindros, and Sergei Makarov. That is different than who I think will be announced on Tuesday. If I had to bet, my guess would be Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates, Pavel Bure and Doug Gilmour will be the top four. Because there are so many candidates, each with different backers on the committee, I am not convinced that the Hall will reach the necessary 75% majority vote. Because of that we may see only 2 or 3 candidates named in 2010.

First Ladies

I also spent some time last week handicapping the candidates of female players. Choosing the first two women hockey players to be inducted is a huge honour worthy of significant discussion. It will be no easy choice. Expect one American (almost certainly Cammi Granato) and one Canadian (there are several top candidates) to be the inaugural inductees.


Unlike players, there is no set time-line for builders to wait until eligibility. Many builders are coaches and managers who are inducted well before their careers are over. This makes it hard to project the builder category.

There is much speculation that the Hall will fast track Pat Burns into builder category. The three time coach of the year and 1 time Stanley Cup champion is suffering from his third bout of cancer. The cancer in his lungs has been declared untreatable. Burns may not live long enough for another induction year.

I would like to see a couple of women get acknowledgment as builders of hockey - Hazel McCallion and Fran Rider, perhaps the two most instrumental women off the ice in the long history of women's hockey. Somehow it would seem funny to have the inaugural class of women's hockey not to include them.

It should be noted that the female category pertains to players only. Female builders are still lumped together with the men.

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