2011 HHOF inductees

Late June marks the beginning of some lively debates among hockey fans from all across the world, about the players or builders going into the hockey hall of fame. This year fans will be debating about whether the 14 man HHOF Committee did a good job in naming  forwards, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, goaltender, Eddie Belfour and defenceman, Mark Howe, as the newly crowned hall of famers.  Belfour, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and the Florida Panthers, finished his career as a two time Vezina Trophy winner and with an impressive 484 wins. His greatest thrill, without question, came in 1999 when he helped the Stars win their first ever Stanley Cup.  “It is hard to put into words what this (going to the hall of fame) means to me,” Belfour said in a statement. “I would like to thank all of my teammates and people along the way who helped me achieve my hockey dreams.”  Meanwhile, Nieuwendyk, who was part of that 1999 Stanley Cup winning team, won a cup with three different teams in his career. Besides winning with Dallas, the 564 goal scorer also won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames. This two time 50 goal scorer, who also played for the Leafs and Florida Panthers, also won a gold medal while playing for Team Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.  “I truly love the game and love to compete, and I’m pleased to be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Nieuwendyk, who is now the Stars’ GM. The third former Leaf who will be inducted on November 14 is Gilmour who, in a 20 year career with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks  Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens, scored an impressive 1,414 points. His greatest moment came back in 1989 when he helped the Flames win a Stanley Cup. In the spring of 1992, Gilmour was the talk of Toronto, where he led the Leafs to a long play-off run, which ended one goal short of a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. “This is an overwhelming honor and one that makes me reflect back on the teammates and coaches I have had over the years,” Gilmour said. “Larry Mavety, who gave me a chance in Tier II hockey and Gord Wood who drafted me into Junior at Cornwall, are two people who were instrumental in helping me establish myself as a player.” The fourth inductee is the son of Mr. Hockey himself … Gordie Howe. Mark Howe played forward at the beginning of his 22 year career before being moved to defence, where he would go on to be mentioned as the runner up on three occassions for the Norris Trophy. In his career Mark scored 1,246 career points and had three 20 goal campaigns. “I was elated to have this dream come true, given that it is a tremendous honor just to have my name mentioned with the upper echelon of hockey,” Howe said. “To actually have my name in the Hall of Fame with my Dad will mean so much to my family.”

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