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Heaney, Niedermayer, Chelios, Shanahan, Shero off to HHOF

{eot} Staff
7/9/2013 4:57:48 PM
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Geraldine Heaney, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan and Fred Shero will become the newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in November.

The Hall added the quintet in its annual announcement on Tuesday, ushering in the four players and one builder allowed in any given year.

"The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these five hockey legends as Honoured Members," said Jim Gregory, co-chair of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. "Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved."

Niedermayer's induction comes as little surprise as one of the most decorated players of his era. He is a four-time Stanley Cup winner and a two-time Olympic champion on top of having won World Junior gold, an IIHF World Hockey Championship, a World Cup of Hockey and a Memorial Cup.

"My goal was always just to make the National Hockey League," said Niedermayer. "Joining people in the Hall of Fame that I've always looked up to is a tremendous thrill."

The former Devils and Ducks blueliner has pages worth of hardware to pad his resume, including the Norris Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, three First Team All-Star selections and one Second Team selection.

"It was just a matter of when he was eligible," former teammate and current Devils assistant coach Scott Stevens said. "From the day he retired, there was no question in anyone's mind in hockey that he would be a first-ballot and be in the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Niedermayer scored 172 goals and 568 assists in 1,263 career NHL games and 22 goals and 73 assists in 202 career playoff games. He also appeared in five NHL All-Star Games.

"Scott Niedermayer was not only a great contributor and a great talent, he made everybody around him better; which ultimately made teams better," said TSN Scout Craig Button. "When you played against him and the teams he was on, there was just no way to take him out of the game and make him a minimal part of it. He rose to the challenge and the more you tried to take him out of the game, the more he became a bigger part of it. If you ever underestimated him, that was the biggest mistake you could make."

The other first-year-eligible honouree is Chelios, who played more regular season games than all but four players in the NHL history.

Chelios suited up in 1,651 career games with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers. A three-time Stanley Cup champion and Norris Trophy winner, the Chicago native was a dominant force in his prime and a model of longevity.

"It's a great honour to be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Chelios. "To have such a long career in the game has been fantastic for me, and being named to the Hall is a huge recognition for what I was able to accomplish."

Over 26 NHL seasons, he scored 185 career goals and 763 assists while adding 31 goals and 113 assists in 266 career playoff games.

"I was part of one era, I think Chris has probably been part of a few," Niedermayer joked. "The one thing that I do remember playing against Chris was he was one of the toughest guys to play against, even as a defenceman. He was always giving me a hard time on the ice, making life miserable."

Chelios represented the United States at three Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in 2002 and also took part in two Canada Cups and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He was named to the First All-Star Team five times, was twice named a Second Team All-Star and played in nine NHL All-Star Games.

"I don't care how good you are, and he is one of the very best, but to play for a quarter of a century plus one means that you have to love the game," former NHL player and analyst for the NHL on TSN Mike Johnson said. "When you think of Chris Chelios, you think of passion - passion for hockey, for going to the rink, for being on the ice, for being with the boys in the locker room. He loved every single minute of it."

Shanahan - who won three Stanley Cups and scored more than 600 goals and 1,300 points over his 21-year career - was a nominee for the Hall's 2012 class, but was edged out by fellow first-year choices Mats Sundin and Joe Sakic along with Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.

The Mimico, Ontario native - who's currently the NHL Director of Player Safety and Vice President of Hockey and Business Development – enjoyed a 21-year playing career with five NHL teams.

"I had dreams as a kid, as most kids do in Canada when shooting on an empty net somewhere on a driveway or a hallway and scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal, but I don't think any of us really had the nerve to dream about the (Hockey Hall of Fame), so I'm a little bit lost for words," Shanahan said on TSN That's Hockey.

Shanahan scored 656 career goals and 698 assists in 1,524 games with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.

"He was an intimidating guy to play against," added Johnson. "He could beat you on the scoreboard - he had that one-timer - or he could beat you physically if he wanted to. And, the fact that he turned into a very good two-way player in his later years in Detroit; he was the full package."

He was twice named to the NHL's First All-Star Team and played in eight NHL All-Star Games. In 2003, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for on-ice leadership and off-ice humanitarian contribution.

Shanahan represented Canada on a number of occasions, including winning the Olympic gold medal-winning team in 2002, the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1994 IIHF World Championship. He was also a member of Canada's 1987 World Junior team.

"I've always been fortunate to have great teammates and coaches throughout my career," said Shanahan. "At every level I have tried to learn and my key to success was having people around me that helped me improve my game."

Heaney will enter the Hall as one of the pioneers of modern women's hockey.

"As a child growing up you watch it on TV and it was a male game when I played," Heaney said. "Going down to the Hall of Fame many times, you would never see any females, so you really didn't think, 'Could this ever happen?' I'm so glad that it has."

Heaney represented Canada's national women's hockey team on numerous occasions between 1990 and 2002. Over that span, she's won a combined seven IIHF World Women's Championship gold medals and Olympic gold and silver medals.

She was named best blueliner at the 1992 and 1994 World Championships and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside fellow Hockey Hall of Famers Angela James and Cammie Granato.

Heaney remains the all-time leading scorer amongst defenders in women's hockey, scoring 27 goals and 66 assists in 125 career games. She announced her retirement from hockey after winning gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

"This continues the big step that women's hockey is taking and the pioneering of Angela James and Cammi Granato," said Heaney. "I am very proud to join them in helping to grow out game."

Shero, who studied the fundamentals of Soviet hockey by Anatoli Tarasov, coached 10 seasons in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

He led the 'Broad Street Bullies' of the 1970s to their only two Stanley Cup victories and coached in two other Stanley Cup Finals with the Flyers in 1976 and the Rangers in 1979.

He won the 1974 Jack Adams Award as coach of the year and the Lester Patrick Award in 1980 for contributions to hockey in the United States. He posted a regular season career winning percentage of .612.

Shero - the father of Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero - will be inducted posthumously, having passed away in 1990.

"I never expected this to happen," Ray Shero said. "I think it's a great step and an honour for my father, certainly."

All five individuals will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday, November 11 in a ceremony that will be carried live on TSN.

Notable players that will be eligible for induction for the first time in the Class of 2014 include: Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight and Dominik Hasek.

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