Like most children growing up in Edmonton, Jarom Eginla admired the Oilers legends Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. As a young black hockey player, he paid special attention to Grant Fuhrer when he saw someone like him in the NHL.
Iginla has admired Fuhr, made their films for years and will soon join him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The longtime Calgary Flames captain was named to Hall’s six-man 2020 class on Wednesday, qualifying for his first year.
Eugenla is the fourth black player after Fuhr, women’s hockey pioneer Angela James and Willie O’Reilly. Only Iginla and Fuhr are black NHL players drafted for their on-ice achievements, but O’Reilly was selected in the builder category in 2018 for breaking the league’s color barrier 60 years ago.
“I didn’t see myself in black hockey as a black hockey player, but I knew I was, too,” Iginla said. “It’s very special to me to see the black players in the NHL – to see Grant Fuhr play, to be able to tell other people: see Grant Fuhr. He was an All-Star. Model and looking at Claude Wilgren and Tony McKechnie and answering other children. It is important for me to follow my dreams. “
Iginla was the first black player to lead the NHL in goals and points and the first black athlete in any sport to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. A first-generation Canadian, his father a Nigerian and a mother-American, Eginla is one of the biggest contributors in Canada’s international hockey history. He gave the puck to Sidney Crosby for the “golden goal” at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“The pressure in those games, especially in the to-do or die-off games, is really great,” Eaginlaw said. “You play for your teammates. It’s for your country. You feel like most people are looking. You are trying to keep the tradition. “
Iglin will be joined in the Class of 2020 by winger Marianne Hossa, defensemen Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, Canadian women’s goaltender Kim St. Pierre and longtime general manager Ken Holland.
In addition to two Olympic gold medals in three appearances, Eginla Maurice won the “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice as the NHL’s top goal scorer, and the Ted Lindsay Award in 2002 for the Art Ross Trophy for most points and the MVP for voting by fellow players. . He has twice won the Canadian Junior Memorial Cup and the World Juniors, the World Championship and the Hockey World Cup.
A power forward on the wing with a prolific scoring touch, Iginla had 625 goals and 675 assists for 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season NHL games for the Flames, Avalanche, Penguins and Kings. He averaged 68 points in 81 playoff games and most notably led Calgary to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
Hosa was selected in his first year of eligibility and joined 2015 entrant Chris Pronger as the only player to go into the hall while under contract. Like Pronger, Hosa qualified because he had not played in three years; He retired in 2018 due to a skin disorder.
A talented, two-way winger, Hosa won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He lost in the final in 2008 and 2009, scoring 149 points in 205 playoff games and finishing with 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games. With Senators, Thrashers, Penguins, Red Wings and Black Hawks.
“Going through the failures will strengthen you,” said Hossa, who included Slovakians Stan Mikita and Peter Stastny as Hall of Famers. “Maybe for me, the third time is the attraction. Not only did he win the Stanley Cup in the final, but also the third Slovak. “
Lowe and Wilson had to wait more than 20 years to enlist. “I never understood the timing,” said Wilson, who won the Norris Trophy in 1982 as the league’s top defenseman and retired in 1993. It’s a simple thing: worth the wait. “
Lowe has won the Cup six times – with five Oilers and in 1994 with the New York Rangers. Hall chairman Lanny McDonald joked with Lowe, “You’ve only won six Stanley Cups. You’re a selfish rascal.”
“Winning the Stanley Cup has always been my dream,” the eighth member of the Edmonton Dynasty reached Lowe Hall. “I dreamed about the Hall of Fame. I want to expand my dream.”
Holland is trying to bring the Cup to Edmonton as GM of the Oilers, so his building work has not been completed. He qualified for Hall with four championships: three as Detroit’s GM and one as an assistant.
“I really like this opportunity,” Holland said. “There are some things you want to achieve in the game, and today is one of them.”
She was the eighth woman and first goaltender in the St. Pierre Hall. After wanting to be like the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, she traded her figure skates for goalie equipment and took Canada to three Olympic gold medals and five World Championship titles.
St. Pierre, who played in the boys’ leagues for 18 years, said: “Being a single girl is not easy.” “I really had to fight every day. But I think I can never give up on the person I am today and always be ready for the opportunity to step on the ice. “
Due to travel difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the 18-member selection committee voted remotely for the first time. It is unclear whether the hall will host its traditional person-inspired program in November. It is tentatively scheduled for November 16th.
“I was always looking forward to it,” Iginla said. “It’s a great thrill.”