IIHF Hall of Fame inducts new members
“Whenever Jere was on the ice, things were under control,” Hitchcock shared with Miller when they recently spoke of Lehtinen. “If a player was playing poorly, put him on Jere’s line and that player would come right back.”
He was the closest Finn to the Triple Gold Club but a finals loss to Sweden at the 2006 Olympics prevented him from join that elite group.
“Being on international teams made me a better player,” said an emotional Lehtinen. “I’d like to thank my parents for supporting, feeding and taking care of me, and my brother for challenging me every day to be better. I’d also like to thank my wife and children, without you this would not be possible.”
Philippe Lacarriere joined his father Jacques as the only father and son inducted as into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Lacarriere played for the French national team and was captain from 1965 to 1967. In all, he represented France 68 times as a player. Lacarriere was the head of the hockey tournament at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. Lacarriere served as a member of the IIHF’s Disciplinary Committee from 1990 to 1994, and at the end of that term was named to the IIHF Council, a position he held for two terms over nine years.
When he retired in 2010, Chris Chelios was the only player remaining in the NHL from the 1981 draft. He played 26 seasons and Olympics over three decades. He began his career with the Montreal Canadiens and won the Stanley Cup in his second full season. Chelios was a member of Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey when the Americans upset the Canadians to win one of their biggest international championships to date. Chelios congratulated his fellow inductees and thanked his family, coaches and members of the USA Hockey family. He also paid tribute to Jim Johannson.
"I would be remiss if I didn't mention a good friend that everybody in this room lost, Jim Johannson, who I went to school with and who I played hockey with and I wish he was here today to see this. No one was prouder to wear the jersey as he did for two Olympics and follow in his father's footsteps to represent his country as a player and in management. No one loved the game or his country more than Jim."
The Paul Loicq Award was presented to Kirovs Lipmans of Latvia. As President of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation, Lipmans helped guide Latvia from the C Pool in 1993, qualifying for the A Pool in 1997. Lipmans was instrumental in helping to develop hockey in his country. Lipmans has overseen the construction of arenas across the nation. Under his leadership, Lipmans has overseen the construction of many new facilities, including the one that hosted the 2006 World Championship in Riga. In 2001, Lipmans was awarded the Order of the Three Stars (4th Class), the highest honour a Latvian can receive.
Rob Blake has won at every level. A member of the prestigious Triple Gold Club, Blake won a Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche. Prior to that, he won World Championship gold in 1994 and 1997 and was a member of Team Canada that won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending a half century without having done so.
"I was fortunate to play in a number of World Championships and Olympics. One of the greatest experiences was the first Olympics in Nagao, Japan in 1998. I think the decision that Hockey Canada made to have us stay in the Olympic Village was one of the best ideas to come about. For us to experience the other athletes, their training and preparation was a tremendous honour."
Bob Nadin made history of his own on the afternoon. Nadin won the Paul Loicq Award in 2007, and now he’s been inducted as a Builder. Nadin, refereed at the international level in Sapporo at the 1972 Olympics. Nadin was the CAHA (Canadian Amateur Hockey Association) referee-in-chief from 1976-86. From 1992 to 1996, Nadin was a supervisor for the NHL. With the IIHF he was part of the Rules and Referee Committee.
Denmark’s Jesper Damgaard received the Bibi Torriani Award. He played in 17 consecutive World Championships and helped advance the national team from the B Pool to the A Pool. He wore the captain’s C for eleven years and his number 7 was retired by the Danish federation.
"I am honoured and proud to be standing here today," said Daamgard. "If anyone said back then that Denmark would be hosting the World Championship and playing in the A Pool, I would be laughing at them. It was not believable but it is true."
He thanked the IIHF for "recognizing his journey with the national team."
Daniel Alfredsson was the final player inducted. Alfredsson played in five Olympics, winning gold with Sweden at the 2006 Torino tournament. He also played in seven World Championships, winning two silver and two bronze medals. In the NHL, Alfredsson played fourteen seasons and was captain of the Ottawa Senators. He led the team to the 2007 Stanley Cup finals. Alfredsson played in 1,246 regular season games.