This is one of the days that we look forward to every year at Notinhalloffame.com as the Hockey Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2018. This year’s class includes two former NHL players (Martin Brodeur and Martin St. Louis), a former women’s player (Jayna Hefford), a former Soviet player (Alexander Yakushev) and two builders (Willie O’Ree and Gary Bettman).
Let’s take a deeper look at this year’s class.
The current NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman was chosen. This will not be a very popular choice especially in Canada, where it is perceived that he has an anti-Canadian bias. Since he took over the league in 1993, there have been three work stoppages. Those who favor his induction will point to the fact that revenue has increased ten fold since he took over. This is not without precedent as the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted a seated Commissioner in Pete Rozelle in 1985.
Martin Brodeur enters on his first year of eligibility and this selection was as close to being a lock as you could get. With 691 Wins in the NHL, he is the all-time leader in that statistic with his closest competition being 140 away. Brodeur has a claim as the most successful Goalie ever, as in addition to his Wins total he would backstop the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cups, was a four time Vezina Trophy winner and a five time William M. Jenning Award winner. Internationally, he had two Olympic Gold Medals with Team Canada. We had him ranked #1 on our most recent list.
Jayna Hefford represented Canada in International competition. She enters in her second year of eligibility. A four time Olympic Gold Medalsis and seven time World Champion, Hefford scored 91 Points Internationally, which is second overall in the history of Canadian Women’s Hockey.
As speculated by many, Willie O’Ree was chosen. O’Ree made history in 1958 when he played for the Boston Bruins in 1958 thus becoming the first black player in the history of the league. While his career only comprised of 45 Games it was a landmark moment for hockey and he was certainly a trailblazer for many of the black players today. O’Ree’s story has become more well known in recent years and he has been very instrumental in programs that encourage diversity into the sport.
Martin St. Louis went from undrafted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2004, St. Louis took the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup title while winning the Hart Trophy in the process. The undersized player (5’ 8”) would win the Lady Byng Trophy three times and was also the Art Ross Trophy winner in 2013. St. Louis was ranked #3 by us and like Brodeur he entered on his first year of eligibility.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the induction of former Soviet player, Alexander Yakushev. Yakushev was the Soviet League scoring champion in 1969 and was a two time Gold Medalist for the U.S.S.R. in both 1972 and 1974. He scored 11 Points in the famous 1972 Summit Series. To the best of our knowledge, there had been no talk of Yakushev entering the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In terms of our rankings, please note that we only rank former NHL players and have not yet created a list for builders or female players.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate the Class of 2018. We will begin work on our 2019 Notinhalloffame.com Hockey list shortly.