Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes Sundin, Sakic, Oates and Bure

The Sports Network
11/13/2012 2:44:15 AM
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Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin were two of the four new members who were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.

Joining the first-time candidates in the 2012 class were Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.

Sakic was one of the few players who spent his entire illustrious career with one franchise. The 13-time All-Star was a first-round draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques back in 1987, eight years before they moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche.

After 20 seasons, Sakic retired as the franchise's all-time leader with 625 goals and 1,016 assists and also won the Hart Trophy in 2001.

Sakic was a key figure in the Avalanche's two Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP in the '96 championship run. He also earned tournament MVP honors as Canada skated off with the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.

"Everyone here tonight has had a fantastic career and I can't thank everyone enough," said Sakic. "I had a chance to play 20 years, got to lift the Stanley Cup twice and was able to play for my country and win a Gold Medal. But this is the greatest honour I've ever received."

Sundin, who played with Sakic his first four years in the NHL, spent 13 seasons with the Maple Leafs and still holds Toronto franchise records for most points, goals, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and overtime goals.

A 2006 Olympic gold medal-winner with Sweden, Sundin totaled 1,349 points in 1,346 NHL games. He scored 564 goals and had 785 assists.

"It's a very humbling and tremendous honor to be here today," said Sundin. "There's so many people for me to thank that it would take me all night. Hockey has been the greatest thing to ever happen to me and going into the Hall of Fame means more than words can express."

Bure, nicknamed the "Russian Rocket," averaged 36.7 goals per season in 12 NHL campaigns and twice reached the 60-goal plateau. He won the Calder Trophy in 1992 with the Canucks and the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2000 and 2001 with the Panthers. He finished his NHL career with 437 goals and 779 points.

"I'm honored and truly humbled to be in a group of such elite individuals," said Bure. "Hockey is the greatest game in the world and the growth of our game has been amazing. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is considered to be the highest individual honor, but I did not get here on my own."

Oates, who just several hours prior to his Hall-of-Fame bid was named the head coach of the Washington Capitals, ranks sixth all-time in NHL history with 1,079 assists and 16th with 1,420 points. He played 1,337 career games with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton.

"Since that day I got the phone call, I've been reflecting on my career," said Oates. "I thought about my family, my friends, my coaches and my teammates, and to them I'd like to say thank you for all you've done for me. This is more about you people, than it is about me."

The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for exemplary broadcasting went to Rick Jeanneret, who has been the voice of the Buffalo Sabres since 1971, and Roy MacGregor received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for bringing honor to journalism and to hockey.

The ceremony was tempered by the on-going lockout that has prevented an NHL season from being played thus far. It's the third lockout in less than 20 years for the league.

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