Monday, November 14, 2011

Heading into the Hall: The Class of 2011

The NHL celebrates its past tonight with the annual induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame, wrapping up a weekend of remembrance of past exploits and celebrating four of the players who had an impact on the game.

Three of the four celebrants this year  bring a tinge of Maple Leaf Blue to the ceremonies, with ties to the Toronto Maple Leafs among their stops on the NHL carousel.

Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and Ed Belfour all wore the Maple Leaf at one time or another and all join the Hall of Honorees tonight, joined by Mark Howe who brings one of hockey's most historic lineage's into the Hall once again.

The quartet were greeted by a boisterous Air Canada Centre crowd on Saturday night prior to the puck drop between the Leafs and Senators, with the crowd in near rapture over so many of their former players being feted at the same time.

Of course there is one Maple Leaf that many felt should have been included in the Hall tonight, if not earlier.

Former Maple Leaf head coach Pat Burns, who passed away last year was a name that many thought should have been called to the Hall, the selection committee missed the mark with that oversight. something that a good number of tonight's celebrants probably would be quick to tell you.

Pat Burns is eligible for inclusion next year, a decision many hope will soon be expedited to include the coach who watched those who we celebrate tonight, allowing him to take his rightful place in the Hall to be remembered forever, for what he brought to the game over the span of his coaching career.

The induction ceremonies tonight will be featured on TSN2 (NHL Network in the USA) at 7:30 ET (4:30 PT), which besides covering the actual ceremony complete with speeches has through the weekend been providing previews of the night of honour to come.

Along with the quartet heading into the players category, broadcaster Mickey Redmond will be honoured tonight, receiving the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his work on Red Wing broadcasts over the last 32 years.

Edmonton Sun writer Terry Jones will be recognized for his work, as he receives the Elmer Ferguson Award, celebrating his 40 plus years of work based out of Edmonton.

A full review of the festivities ahead tonight can be found on the Hockey Hall of Fame website.

Below we provide some reviews of the careers of each of tonight's celebrants.

Joe Nieuwendyk

ESPN-- Classy clutch Joe Nieuwendyk enters Hall
Toronto Star-- So many to thank, so little time for Hall of Famer Nieuwendyk Nieuwendyk's career ensured everyone knew his name

Doug Gilmour

Globe and Mail-- Gilmour primed for Hockey Hall of Fame induction
CBC-- Gilmour led Maple Leafs with killer instinct
Toronto Star-- Gilmour has no regrets after Killer career
Toronto Star-- For a splendid period of time in Toronto, Gilmour was the Leafs
Toronto Sun-- No-tears texts for Gilmour
Toronto Sun-- Gilmour in his own words Gilmour reflects on career than nearly never happened

Ed Belfour

ESPN-- Ed Belfour's manic dedication
Toronto Star- Unmatched competitive fire key to Belfour's success
Grand Forks Herald-- Former UND goalie Ed Belfour to be enshrined by NHL Mental toughness carried Belfour to Hall of Fame

Mark Howe Mark Howe to join father Gordie in Hall of Fame
Toronto Star-- Hockey Hall welcomes another Howe
Globe and Mail-- Mark Howe to join father in Hockey Hall of Fame
Globe and Mail-- Tears of joy for Gordie Howe as son joins him ...
CBC-- Howe has point about policing 10 things to know about Hall of Famer Mark Howe Flyers should retire Howe's number Howe happy about sharing Hall honour with father Famous last name no burden for Howe Mrs. Hockey was very instrumental for Mark Howe

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