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Late coach Burns headlines Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 class

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TSN.ca Staff
6/23/2014 4:32:23 PM
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Late coach Pat Burns has been elected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014 alongside Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano and Rob Blake and legendary NHL referee Bill McCreary.

The official induction ceremony will be held on November 17.

The three-time Jack Adams Award winner for coach of the year passed away in 2010 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He enters the Hall in the Builder's category.

Burns won 501 games in 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens (1988-1992), Toronto Maple Leafs (1992-1996), Boston Bruins (1997-2001) and New Jersey Devils (2002-2004). He won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003.

The former Gatineau, Quebec police officer had plenty of proponents for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame, even before he passed away.

"Pat Burns should have been in the Hall of Fame this year," former Stanley Cup-winning coach and incumbent Conservative Senator Jacques Demers said in 2010. "Not because he was dying, but because he was a Hall of Fame coach. Five hundred wins, a Stanley Cup, three times coach of the year - to me it would have been so special for him, before he died, to be in the Hall of Fame."

It is the second consecutive year a builder has been posthumously elected after Fred Shero, back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, was inducted in 2013.

Hasek - a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, Hart Trophy winner and two-time Cup champ - may have been the easiest player selection for this class.

The Czech Republic native won the NHL's award for best goaltender a staggering six times in eight seasons as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings from 2001-2008, where he won two championships (2002, 2008).

"The Dominator" is 11th all-time on the NHL wins list with 389 and had seven straight seasons with a save percentage of .930 or better.

"For me it's a no-brainer," former coach of the Sabres Lindy Ruff said earlier this year.

He brought the Sabres out of obscurity and led the club to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1999 against the Dallas Stars. He narrowly missed out on his first championship as a result of Brett Hull's infamous "foot-in-the-crease" overtime goal.

Hasek would go on to win his first Cup as a starter with the Red Wings in 2002 and the second came as a backup to the championship team of 2008.

Also cracking the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility is two-time Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic gold medalist Peter Forsberg.

Forsberg began what would become an impactful, yet injury-shortened career, with the Quebec Nordiques after being acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Eric Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1992.

The Calder, Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner scored 885 points in 708 regular-season games in his 14 seasons with the Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, Flyers and Nashville Predators. He won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche.

Forsberg also won gold medals in men's ice hockey for Sweden at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer and 2006 Games in Torino.

He was plagued by many injuries over the course of his career, but it was tendon problems in his left foot that haunted him for most of his playing days and eventually forced him to retire.

Another new candidate making the grade in 2014 is the most prolific American scorer in NHL history, Mike Modano.

The former captain and last active player to have played for the Minnesota North Stars is the highest scoring American in league history with 561 goals, 813 assists and 1374 points in 1499 games.

Modano, who appeared in eight All-Star Games, holds Stars' franchise records for regular-season and playoff games played (1459, 174), goals (557, 58), assists (802, 87) and points (1359, 145), and also led the club to the Stanley Cup in 1999 over Hasek and the Sabres.

The last player on the list had to wait an extra year, but in only his second year of eligibility for Los Angeles Kings captain Rob Blake is entering the Hall of Fame.

While many thought Blake was a lock for last year's ballot, it turned out there were too many deserving candidates and not enough spots to include the 6-foot-4 defenceman.

Blake appeared in six All-Star Games (1994, 1999-2003) and won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman in 1998. He also won his first and only Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2001.

In 20 seasons with the Kings, Avalanche and San Jose Sharks, Blake accumulated 240 goals, 537 points and 777 points in 1270 games.

And last, but certainly not least, legendary referee Bill McCreary is getting his call to the Hall.

McCreary officiated 1,737 regular season games, 297 playoff games and one All-Star Game in the NHL, as well as participating in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2012 Vancouver Olympics.

His model of consistency is no secret as he has officiated a Stanley Cup Final-record 44 games, including 13 straight finals from 1995-2007 and his last series in 2009.

McCreary's signature puck flip before the opening faceoff became a signature part of every game he refereed.

Pat Burns  (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images/NHLI)

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(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images/NHLI)
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