TORONTO – Two prominent members of the international hockey community were elected into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame today. Murray Costello goes in as a Builder and Jose Sakic as a Player.
Costello, who retired as the IIHF’s vice-president last year, was involved in hockey for more than half a century. In the beginning, he was a player. He skated in the NHL for three seasons (1954-57) with Chicago, Boston, and Detroit during the height of the Original Six era. After retiring, he returned to school and earned his law degree and then began a career as an executive, first in the WHL.
In 1979, Costello was named president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) precursor to Hockey Canada. During his 20 years in that position he revolutionized everything about the organization and the game at all levels in the country.
It was under Costello that Hockey Canada created the Program of Excellence in 1982 to ensure the country put together the finest team possible for the World Junior Championship. That season, Canada won gold for the first time and has since then become the winningest nation in that event.
Later in the decade Costello was instrumental in the legitimization of women’s hockey at the IIHF, ensuring that the 1990 Women’s World Championships was a sanctioned event. Out of that success came Olympic participation for women.
In 1981 Costello joined the Hockey Hall of Fame as both a member of the Board of Directors and Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He joined the IIHF soon after, eventually becoming its vice-president. He was inducted into the HHOF in 2005 as a Builder.
Joe Sakic is, quite simply, one of the greatest players in the game’s history—and he has won at every level imaginable. He played in the NHL for 21 years, all with the Quebec/Colorado franchise, during which time her served as captain for 17 of those seasons.
A member of the IIHF’s exclusive Triple Gold Club, he won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001, won Olympic gold in 2002, and won World Championship gold in 1994. Additionally, he won World Junior gold in 1988 and the World Cup of Hockey championship in 2004.
Sakic scored 625 goals and 1,641 points in his career and was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. But over and above his accomplishments, he was famous for his wrist shot which was both lethal and accurate. He was nicknamed “Gentleman Joe” because of his combination of ferocious competitive spirit and sportsmanlike conduct on the ice at all times.
The ceremony will take place at the Sports Hall in Calgary, Alberta on October 16, 2013.