Cam Neely, Valeri Kharlamov and Murray Costello, three new names for the Hockey Hall of Fame. The annual celebration of achievement played out in Toronto on Monday night in a nationally televised broadcast of the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
Former NHLer and Amateur hockey executive Murray Costello joined the Hall, Costello had a brief career in the NHL, with stops in two NHL cities before hanging up his skates and heading for law school. He found his days with hockey were only starting though, Costello would go on to work for the CAHA revamping the way minor hockey was structured in Canada. He introduced Women's hockey to the world, a portion of the sport that grows in leaps and bounds each year. His programs and ideas have led to successive championships in Junior, International and Olympic tournaments, all of which are a testimony to his good work on behalf of hockey in Canada and for the good of the game world wide.
Valeri Kharlamov, nobody knew anything about him in August of 1972, by September he had become a household name. The star of the Russian Red Army squad came to North America for the eight games that change the sport. That Canada/Russia series of 72 alerted Canada that our game had found roots in other countries and those roots apparently had become quite deep. On a September night in the hallowed Montreal Forum, Kharlamov took charge of a game and left many Canadians wondering where he had come from and where he and his team mates might be taking the game. Those eight games were akin to a war, and it took a drastic measure to slow down Kharlamov, Bobby Clarke's two handed slash took Kharlamov off the scoring sheets in the final games, yet his reputation would continue long after that 72 series came to an end. Monday night Kharlamov took his rightful place in the Hall of honour.
The ultimate warrior finally is at home. Cam Neely, perhaps one of the most beloved of Bruins since Bobby Orr, took his place at the Hall of fame Monday night. Neely was the definition of heart for the Bruins, scoring, character and physical play were just three of the key ingredients to the Neely legacy. Obtained from Vancouver in perhaps the worst NHL trade in history (for Vancouver anyways), Neely stepped up into the Boston lineup and led by example, if he couldn't go around a defenceman he would go through him, if a team mate found himself in trouble it usually was Neely there by his side to keep things honest. He represented the best Canada could offer to the game and the qualities that Boston fans admire the most, hard work and a never give up attitude. By placing Neely in the Hall of fame, a new standard has been set, beyond the statistics the size heart of the player in the player is just as important an asset for consideration. No player had a larger heart than Cam Neely.
Three worthy candidates make up the class of 2005, find out more about this years inductees here!