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June 22, 2010

HHOF Needs To Make Voting Transparent

After hearing the announced Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2010 I can not help but feel a little disappointed, disillusioned and disheartened.

The Hall did not have the heart to let a dying man in now and they didn't have the brains to clear their own docket and make their own job easier going forward by allowing a couple of other worthy candidates in this year. You know, putting aside petty reasons and free up future elections.

Sadly, we likely will never be privy to the committee's thought processes. It is strict policy to not discuss who did not get in or why. This needs to be changed, and there is one easy way to make that happen - making the voting results public.

Since 2002, Dino Ciccarelli has waited for that phone call to tell him he has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He finally got that call in 2010. That's an awfully long time to wait for a player with 608 career goals, now ranking him 16th best in history,  Especially considering that the Hall did allow Bernie Federko in.

I do not disagree with Ciccarelli's wait. He was very good for a long time. To me that does not equal greatness, even if he did score over 600 goals. I continue to have trouble with longevity vs. dominance.

But I think the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee took it upon themselves to punish him for some off-ice transgressions that the plagued his career far too long. They knew they couldn't keep him out forever, not with those lofty goal totals, but they made sure he had to wait.

What is even worse than the committee's almighty attitude is they never have to answer for their own actions. Voting results are not released. Some voting consistency is badly needed, and a line needs to be established. Transparency will provide that.

The Hall of Fame does not release voting results, saying that they don't want to hurt or embarrass the players who do not make the cut. But this would make the Hall more accountable. Right now the rather anonymous Hall of Fame selection committee (admit it, you can't name more than a couple of guys in that room) are hockey insiders. Voting guidelines are even vaguer. The Hall comes across as, at best, an old boys network or, at worst, holier than thou.

I have always doubted the Hall of Fame will change their ways. The best I had ever hoped for was that they would release voting results 10 years later on, or something like that. There is never enough pressure on them to do so, although that might finally change now.

The selection committee's heartless refusal to include dying Pat Burns his rightful induction while he is still alive will have media and fans demanding answers. Finally the Hall will have to defend their decisions, and perhaps reveal a little light on the processes inside that meeting room.

1 comment:

Tyler @ NHL Digest said...

Fully agree with you Joe. There is no doubt Burns deserves to be in the HHOF. He has won the Jack Adams award more than anyone in history. He'll get in eventually, but he does deserve it now.

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