The native of Edmonton, Alberta, headlines the newest class of inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on November 16, 2020. He’ll be inducted along with Players Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, and Kim St-Pierre and Builder Ken Holland.
Iginla’s nomination in his first year of eligibility was merely a formality. In a 21-year career in the NHL (1995-2017), he scored 625 goals and an even 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season games. But more impressively, his IIHF resume is dotted with gold. He represented Canada for the first time at the 1996 World Junior Championship, winning gold. A year later, he played the only World Championship of his career. Gold. He also won Olympic gold with his country in both 2002 and 2010, and in 2004 he played on Canada’s victorious World Cup of Hockey entry as well.
“This selection is hard to believe and makes me reflect and look back on my career,” said Iginla. “I was always just trying to make the NHL and this recognition means a lot to me and my family.”
Iginla was that rare player whose sportsmanship was legendary, but when crossed he could stand up for himself and his teammates. He had a great shot and was a leader wherever he played, whether he wore the “C” (as in Calgary) or not (with Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado, and Los Angeles). He twice won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-getter, and in 2001-02 he also won the Art Ross Trophy. He won the Memorial Cup twice, with Kamloops, but perhaps he is best known for making that special pass to Sidney Crosby on the golden goal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“Hockey has always been my passion and this is a very special honour,” said St-Pierre. “When I was growing up, it was only boys, and when that changed my dream was able to come through. I’m grateful and would like to thank all of my coaches and my family.”
Two players who retired a long time ago are now getting recognition from the Hall of Fame. Defenceman Kevin Lowe started with the Edmonton Oilers in 1979 and won the Stanley Cup five times with the team. After moving to the New York Rangers in 1992, he helped the Blueshirts win an historic Cup in 1994, giving Lowe six career championships, tied for second-most all-time for blueliners behind only Red Kelly. Lowe retired in 1998 after 19 seasons in which his teams missed the playoffs only once. Internationally, he won a bronze medal with Canada at the 1982 World Championship as well as the championship with the country’s Canada Cup team two years later.
“I think I perhaps represent the next level of guys who helped to win championships,” Lowe said in under-statement. “I appreciate that my contributions to the teams I played on are being recognized in this way.”
Another defenceman now being honoured, and who retired back in 1993, is Doug Wilson. An offensive blueliner, he played 14 of his 16 career seasons with Chicago, finishing with San Jose. He played in 1,024 regular-season games and was considered one of the finest skaters and scorers among defencemen. In 1981-82, he won the Norris Trophy and is still the highest-scoring defenceman in Hawks’ team history. In all, he played in eight All-Star Games during his illustrious career.
“I’m not even a Hall of Famer in my own house, so joining this club means the world to me,” a humbled Wilson joked. “I would like to thank all of the people who have been so good to me in this game.”
“This honour means so much to me,” said Hossa. “I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. I have learned so much about life through the game of hockey and am very appreciative of this recognition.”
Ken Holland played just four games in the NHL as a goalie, but what he lacked on ice he made up for in spades in the press box and board room, becoming the premier general manager in the league with the Detroit Red Wings starting in 1997. During his two decades with the Winged Wheel, Holland built teams that won the Stanley Cup three times. He also took former captain Steve Yzerman under his guidance and developed the former player into one of the top GMs of the present day.
“I am incredibly humbled by this honour,” said Holland. “I am in this game because I loved it as a young man, and I am happy to have been able to stay in the game.”
The Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 16, 2020, but the HHOF will make a final decision on whether to hold the ceremony or not in mid-August based on the developments of the coronavirus pandemic.