One of the greatest goaltenders of hockey’s early era, Charlie Gardiner’s greatness was curtailed at the age of 29 by a brain hemorrhage that took him away only weeks after his greatest triumph.
An inaugural member of the New York Rangers, Ivan “Ching” Johnson may not have been the best athlete in hockey (in fact he was far from it), but he mastered the art of defensive hockey with punishing body checks and slowing down offensive skaters with subtle clutching. Johnson was not paid to score (which is good, as he didn’t often) but his defensive acumen had few peers in his time and he was a four time post season All Star and two time cup winner for New York.
A rough and tumble defenceman, Chris Chelios did it all in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup three times, won the Norris Trophy three times as the league’s top blueliner and was a post season All Star seven times. Chelios was easily the headliner for the Class of 2013 and one of the best ever American born players regardless of position.
Chris Pronger is a former Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy winner and would twice lead the National Hockey League in Plus/Minus while he was a member of the St. Louis Blues. Pronger would become a four time post-season All Star, a Stanley Cup Champion with the Anaheim Ducks and was a Olympic Gold Medalist with Canada.
Depending on whom you ask, the induction of Chuck Rayner to the Hockey Hall of Fame may be a bit of a curious one. Overall, Rayner’s career was not an extensive one (Interrupted by his service in World War II), but upon his return to the NHL, he did win the Hart Trophy and was a Second Team All Star three times. His other claim to fame, was that he one of the first “wandering” Goalies, as he would leave his net on a somewhat regular basis, in attempts to move the puck. Still, Hart Trophy and all, it is a little difficult to make a Hall of Fame case for an Original Six Goalie who never won a Stanley Cup.
Initially a referee in the National Hockey League (who was assigned to referee some very important games), Clarence Campbell was moved to the office and was groomed to be the heir apparent to take over the Presidency of the NHL. The plan was temporarily derailed as Campbell joined the Canadian military to serve in World War II (in which he rose from Private to Lt. Colonel) but he returned in 1946 to serve under Red Dutton as the Vice President. Dutton (who never really wanted to be the President) swiftly resigned, and Campbell took over the job.
We will openly question this Hall of Fame induction. Although we respect the career of Clark Gillies, his Hall resume looks a little weak. Granted he was a good part of four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders, and he was on a star line with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier; however he was the third amigo on that line. Gillies was a decent scorer, and the rugged enforcer on the line, but at no time did he get 40 goals or 100 points in what was becoming an era where many players hit those levels.
A decent player in his youth, Claude Robinson’s induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame is essentially based on his groundwork of creating the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. Robinson also coached the Canadian Team to Olympic Gold in 1932. Robinson was one of a long list of builders inducted in 1947, though it can be argued (and we will) that his induction may not equate to that of the other builders of that class.
Cliff Fletcher may have only won one Stanley Cup, but he brought a brilliant hockey mind to various clubs and brought them a lot closer to the dance than they would have had without him. Fletcher first arrived in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues as he worked his way from Scout to General Manager, and a lot of his work in the background helped the Blues become a contender and reach the Finals three times. Later, he took over the reins in Atlanta and helped to organize the move to Calgary, where they became a top team in the 1980’s, and he won his Stanley Cup in 1989.
The real answer to the trivia question of who was the first Goalie to wear a mask (he wore a leather mask for five games in the 1929-30 season), Clint Benedict was the man whose style caused the NHL to allow goaltenders to not have to remain standing. Benedict would often “accidentally” fall to his knees to stop a puck, so much so, that he was dubbed by rival fans in Toronto as “Praying Benny” due to the amount of time he was on his knees.
The fourth Veterans Category inductee is another that we are bit on the fence on.   Clint Smith was a good player for the New York Rangers and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1940. Smith was known for his playmaking and gentlemanly play winning the Lady Byng in 1939. Smith found his way to Chicago and was on a dream line with Bill Mosienko and Doug Bentley and led the NHL in assists in 1944 and won his second Lady Byng. Overall, Clint Smith had a very productive career, but we have to question whether it was a Hall of Fame one.
After building the New York Rangers and developing a core that would become the Stanley Cup Champions, Conn Smythe bought the Toronto St. Pats and renamed them the Maple Leafs. The franchise would see their greatest success under Smythe’s ownership and he also financed Maple Leaf Gardens. It is likely that fans of the Buds probably wished that Smythe would have developed an elixir for immortality and never ceased to be the owner of that team.
There is something about this induction that bothers us. RalphCooney” Weiland shattered the single season points record that Howie Morenz set earlier, and simultaneously won the goals title in the 1929-30 season. This was the first NHL campaign where the forward pass was legal and Weiland along with linemates Dit Clapper and Dutch Gainor took advantage of the new rule with expert positioning.
Although Craig Patrick had a healthy playing career in the 1970’s, it was in the builder’s category that he entered the Hockey Hall of Fame. Patrick first became known for his behind the bench work as the Assistant Coach for the United States Miracle on Ice Team that won the 1980 Olympics. Patrick would later become the Director of Hockey Operations for the New York Rangers, and would also coach them for two separate stints; however it was his work in Pittsburgh that got him into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Netting over twenty goals in seven National Hockey League seasons may not be the most impressive statistic, but in his era with the reduced games it certainly was! Cy Denneny was not just a goal scorer, but he was a certifiable winner. His name is engraved on the Stanley Cup four times, he was the NHL’s leading scorer once, and when he retired he was the leading points scorer in NHL history. The only curious question is why he had to wait for his induction, as he should have been inducted in an earlier class.
One of the early stars of organized hockey, Cyclone Taylor was a prolific scorer and a great two way player. He would lead his respective league in scoring on multiple occasions and would twice be part of Stanley Cup winning teams. As such, Taylor was rewarded with an early induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.
We imagine that in the 1980’s that Dale Hawerchuk pretty much owned the Province of Manitoba in the 1980’s. Coming off a spectacular junior career, Hawerchuk was selected by the Winnipeg Jets and promptly won the Calder Trophy and set (since broken) the record for the youngest player to get 100 points. He would go on to hit that 100 point plateau five more times and hit 1,409 for his career. As he played in a small market and in an era with many other good Centres, he still made a mark in the NHL and entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility.
Considered one of the best all-around Canadian athletes in the turn of the century, Dan Bain excelled at everything he touched. Consider that he won the following:  

The Manitoba Roller Skating Championship at age 13
The Manitoba Gymnastics Competition at age 17.
Three Manitoba Cycling Championships.
Canadian Trapshooting Champion in 1903
Best known for a still standing NHL record of ten points in a game in 1976, Darryl Sittler was a lot more than just that dream performance. He was an accomplished offensive player who twice topped the 100 point mark while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and was the leader of that team through the 1970’s. He was a consistent scorer, but naturally became frustrated as Toronto management (namely Harold Ballard) began to dismantle the team. Sittler would join the Philadelphia Flyers where he was still a good player for another two seasons. He would finish his career with over 1,100 points and a revered place in Maple Leaf history.
Why does this seem like a duplicate induction? Daryl Seaman was one of the Calgary businessmen who helped to bring the Atlanta Flames to Calgary and was a part of the group that helped bring the Olympics (and the Saddledome) to Calgary. However, wasn’t the induction of Harley Hotchkiss sufficient already? Just saying.