Martin Brodeur, the greatest goalie of the modern era and holder of virtually every major goaltending record, leads the group of new inductees announced by the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto this afternoon.
Joining him as Players are Jayna Hefford, Martin St. Louis, and Alexander Yakushev, while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Willie O’Ree will be inducted as Builders.
Brodeur’s career both in the NHL and internationally for Canada is beyond compare, but perhaps his greatest record, the one that might never be broken, is his regular-season record of 125 shutouts. This improved on Terry Sawchuk’s 103, a record no one thought would ever be touched.
Additionally, Brodeur has 691 wins, 140 more than Patrick Roy, who is second all-time. His, 1,266 regular-season games is another seemingly untouchable record, and his 74,439 minutes played is again far and away number one all time. Brodeur has 14 seasons of 30 or more wins, 12 of which came consecutively, and he had eight seasons of 40 wins (no one else has more than three).
Of course, his statistical achievements came as a result of great team success. Brodeur won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995, 2000, and 2003, winning the Jennings Trophy five times and the Vezina Trophy four times.
For Canada, Brodeur has come as close as any goaltender to achieve Triple Gold Club status. In addition to the three Cups, he won Olympic gold with Canada in 2002 and 2010. But he fell short twice at the World Championship, winning silver in both 1996 and 2005. He also led Canada to victory at the 2004 World Cup.
Hefford’s name appears several times in the IIHF Guide & Record Book. She is one of only thee women to win five medals at the Olympics (four gold), a distinction she shares with Hayley Wickenheiser and Gillian Apps. She is second all time in Olympic games played (26), tied for third in points, and third in assists.
At the World Women’s, her achievements are even more impressive: in 12 events, she has won seven gold and five silver medals and is second only to Wickenheiser for points (83 to 86).
Yakushev was a star for Spartak Moscow in the Soviet league and well-known to Canadian fans for his remarkable play in the 1972 Summit Series, but fans of the international game know him as a star player for CCCP for many top-level events. Indeed, the great forward won gold at both the 1972 and 1976 Olympics and appeared in ten World Championships, taking home seven gold medals, two silver, and a bronze.
In some respects, his finest hour came in 1972, though. He led the Soviet team in scoring in that historic series in September, scoring seven goals and eleven points in the eight games.
Martin St-Louis was an inspiration in two extraordinary ways. His career NHL statistics are superb—1,033 points in 1,134 regular-season games. He also played a central role in the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup. Amazingly, though, St-Louis was never drafted and he was one of the smallest players of the modern era as well. Passed over and ignored by every NHL team, he worked his way up from the IHL to superstardom.
For Canada, St-Louis was on the winning 2004 World Cup team, won gold in 2014 in Sochi, and won two silver medals at the World Championship, in 2008 and 2009.
Bettman’s is a name everyone in the hockey world knows well. He became the NHL’s Commissioner on 1st February 1993, and in the quarter century since has transformed virtually every aspect of the game.
The league was 24 teams then and has grown to 31, with a 32nd likely on the way in Seattle. Bettman and IIHF President René Fasel worked together to ensure NHL participation at the Olympics from 1998 to 2014, and revenues have increased tenfold under his guidance.
Willie O’Ree was the first black player to appear in an NHL game, playing for the Boston Bruins the night of 18 January 1958. In all, he appeared in only 45 NHL games, but his minor-league career endured a quarter century. He retired at age 44, but it’s what he did after his playing days that earned him recognition today.
In 1998, O’Ree was hired by the NHL to work as its director of youth development for its diversity task force. His story inspired many young players of colour to take up hockey, and his efforts to grow the game have been ongoing.
The Hockey Hall of Fame induction will take place on 12th November 2018 in Toronto.