One woman and five men will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario this November. Two NHL legends, two international legacies, one commissioner, and one pioneer of the game will be given the honor that only 392 others have received in the hall’s 75 year history.
Here are the 2018 inductees.
1. Martin Brodeur
Brodeur is the Ironman of goalies. The NHL record book lists Brodeur as the all-time league leader among goalies in games played (1,266), minutes (74,439), wins (691), losses (397), goals against (2,764), shots faced (31,709), saves (28,928), and shutouts (125).
In his 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur was named to nine All-Star games, was a seven-time All-Pro, won the Vezina Trophy (given to the league’s top goaltender) four times, and won three Stanley Cups.
Brodeur is one of the few first ballot Hall of Famers, and will be remembered as one of, if not the greatest, goaltender to ever play the game.
2. Willie O’Ree
Willie O’Ree played in 45 games as a member of the Boston Bruins. O’Ree enters the Hall of Fame not under the ‘Player’ distinction, but as a ‘Builder.’ The 82-year-old Canadian broke the NHL color barrier in 1958 as the first black player to play in an NHL game.
O’Ree professional career spanned 21 seasons, primarily in the Western Hockey League. Despite O’Ree’s short NHL career, he has served as the NHL’s Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity since 1998. His impact after his playing career ended is far and away the reason he’s earned the ‘Builder’ distinction in the Hall of Fame. He has helped start grassroots hockey programs in economically disadvantaged communities across the country, and is champions how anyone can play the game of hockey.
Oh by the way, O’Ree played his professional career blind in one eye.
3. Martin St. Louis
St. Louis enters the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players to wear a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform. At 5’8, St. Louis went undrafted before finding a home in Tampa Bay. He is the team’s all time leader in points, assists, game-winning goals, and postseason points.
The 2003-04 season proved to be his crowning achievement, winning league MVP and the Stanley Cup. St. Louis led the NHL in points twice, and was given the leagues Lady Byng Memorial Trophy three times as the player determined to play with the bestt sportsmanship.
4. Jayna Hefford
The only woman to be inducted in 2018 has one of the most impressive resumes. Hefford played her international career for Canada, winning four Olympic gold medals, and one silver in five trips to the Winter Games. Twelve times her Canadian team placed at the IIHF Women’s World Championships, including seven gold medals.
As a member of the Brampton Thunder, she led or co-led the National Women’s Hockey League in points and goals five times in a seven year stretch. The two years she didn’t earn that distinction? She was busy winning Olympic gold for Canada.
The MVP of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is given the Jayna Hefford trophy. Take that, Martin Brodeur.
5. Gary Bettman
Like O’Ree, Gary Bettman enters the Hall as a ‘Builder.’ The current NHL commissioner has held his role for 25 years. Under Bettman, the league grew from 24 to 31 franchises and ballooned from a $400 million league to now closing in on $5 billion in annual revenue.
Bettman pulled the league through three different lockouts and barred any NHL players from competing in this past Olympic games in Sochi. Despite the negatives that come with Bettman, TV deals, rule changes and a faster game say that the NHL is making strides to remain a major player in the United States and across the world.
6. Alexander Yakushev
The “Big Yak” is considered one of the greatest forwards to play in the 1970’s. Yakushev was a member of two Olympic gold medal teams while playing for the U.S.S.R. One of the greatest Russian scorers to ever play the game, Yakushev was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2002.