TORONTO, ON (Sports Network) – Former Dallas Stars teammates Joe Nieuwendyk and Ed Belfour were among the inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.
Along with Nieuwendyk and Belfour, who won a Stanley Cup together in 1999 with Dallas, Doug Gilmour and Mark Howe were also placed in the pantheon of NHL elite.
The current general manager of the Stars, Nieuwendyk began his career in Calgary where he won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1988. He notched 51 goals that season and is one of just five players (Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Teemu Selanne and Alex Ovechkin) to record at least 50 goals in their rookie season.
The next season saw him record 51 goals again and he hoisted his first Stanley Cup when the Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
He was traded to Dallas in December of 1995 after a contract holdout in exchange for the rights to current Flame Jarome Iginla. The 1998-99 season saw the Stars win the Stanley Cup in six games over Buffalo and Nieuwendyk win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Near the end of the 2001-02 campaign he was traded to New Jersey and won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2002 Olympics. The following season saw him win his third Stanley Cup with a third different team when the Devils defeated the Ducks in seven games.
Nieuwendyk then went on to spend time with Toronto and Florida and decided to retire from the game on December 6, 2006. He totaled 564 goals and 562 assists over 1,257 games and 66 goals and 50 assists in 158 playoff games.
“How do you go about summarizing a lifelong career in hockey in just a few minutes,” said Nieuwendyk. “The truth is that you can’t. This is a great group of men I’m going in with tonight and I am truly humbled.”
Known as “The Eagle”, Belfour had a career that spanned 17 seasons and began with a Calder and Vezina Trophy winning season in Chicago.
Recalled by the Blackhawks late in the 1989-90 season, he became the full-time goalie the next season and went 43-19-7 with four shutouts and a 2.47 goals- against average in 74 games.
That dominating performance won him the best rookie trophy, best goaltender trophy and the William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest team goals-against average. Also, he was nominated for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, but lost to Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues.
Next season he guided the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the team was swept by Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He spent the next four-plus seasons with Chicago, winning another Vezina Trophy in 1993, but was traded to San Jose halfway through the 1996-97 season.
Signed by the Stars as a free agent on July 2, 1997, he backstopped the team to his first and only Stanley Cup championship in 1999. He outdueled former teammate and six-time Vezina winner Dominik Hasek as he went 16-7 with a 1.67 GAA and three shutouts.
Belfour won a Gold Medal with Team Canada in 2002 and, following the 2001-02 season, signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he spent the next three seasons, setting a franchise-record with 37 wins in the 2002-03 season.
He played for a season with Florida after signing with the team on July 25, 2006 and that was his final campaign in the NHL as he went to play in Sweden after signing with a club there on August 27, 2007.
Over his career in the NHL he appeared in 963 games and went 484-320-111-14 with 76 shutouts, a 2.50 GAA and .906 save percentage.
“I will treasure this weekend for the rest of my life,” said Belfour. “Being in here is not only a tribute to my God-given talents, but to my teammates, coaches, family and fans. This honor is not possible without all of them.”
Known as a small, scrappy player throughout his career, Gilmour won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989 along with Nieuwendyk. He began his career in St. Louis during the 1983-84 season.
Gilmour stayed in St. Louis until being traded to Calgary prior to the 1988-89 campaign, finishing that season with 85 points in 72 games and scored the game-winning goal against Patrick Roy in the deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Montreal.
On January 2, 1992, Toronto acquired Gilmour from Calgary in a 10-player deal that is seen as one of the most lopsided in the history of the NHL.
The next season, he set a franchise record with a 127-point season and thanks to his efforts he won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward and was a runner-up for the Hart Trophy.
Gilmour led the team to the Campbell Conference Finals, but was unable to lift them into the Stanley Cup Finals as the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Maple Leafs in front of the Toronto crowd in Game 7. Gilmour finished the playoffs that year with 35 points in 21 games.
He eclipsed the 100-point mark the next season with 111 and again led the Maple Leafs to the conference finals, but again was unable to push them over the top in a series loss to Vancouver.
Traded to New Jersey during the 1996-97 campaign, he spent time with Chicago, Buffalo and Montreal.
He was sent to Toronto from Montreal at the trade deadline in 2003, but his first game saw him collide with Calgary’s Dave Lowe, tearing his ACL and ending his career.
Over 1,474 games in the NHL, Gilmour totaled 450 goals and 964 assists and added 60 goals and 128 assists in 182 playoff games.
Toronto retired his No. 93 on January 31, 2009, the 17th Leaf honored that way.
“The friendships I made with all the guys I played with and that coached me, that is the greatest thing about my time in hockey,” said Gilmour. “Everyone always believed in me, even though I wasn’t the biggest guy out there. Thank you all for giving me a chance to live my dream.”
Son of the famous Gordie Howe, Mark lived up to his fathers name in a professional career that spanned two leagues and 22 seasons.
Howe began his speech by paying tribute to the victims of a September 7 plane crash in Russia that killed 44 people, including the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League. Former defense partner Brad McCrimmon was a teammate of Howe when he was with Philadelphia.
“I hope the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy receive full compensation for their losses, which is not the case at this time,” Howe said. “I find this morally upsetting. The families have suffered the loss of their loved ones, they do not have to suffer financially as well. The hockey world should do all that it can to make it right.”
He began play with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association alongside his father and brother Marty. Playing left wing on the team, he was honored as the league’s top rookie in 1974 and helped the team win two Avco Cups.
By the start of the 1976-77 season he moved to defense and, along with his father and brother, went to the New England Whalers of the WHA before the 1977-78 season.
When the WHA and NHL merged in 1979, the Whalers were welcomed into the league as the Hartford Whalers and Howe continued to play there.
After recovering from a serious injury during the 1981-82 season, that prompted the league to redesign its nets after he suffered a serious leg gash from crashing through the center portion, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.
There he was the anchor of a defensive squad that saw the team go to the Stanley Cup Finals twice while he was there (1985, 1987), losing both times to the Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers.
The three-time Norris Trophy finalist spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia and had several productive seasons, including the 1985-86 campaign that saw him score 24 goals, notch 58 assists and finish with a plus-85. He lost out the Norris Trophy that year to Paul Coffey, who totaled 138 points that season.
“From the beginning it was as if I was born to be a Flyer,” said Howe. “Although I wanted to slash him a few times, I want to thank Mike Keenan for helping me to raise my bar. The orange and black will be a part of me forever.”
Signed by the Red Wings as a free agent in 1992, he spent the next three seasons there and retired following the 1994-95 campaign after the Red Wings were swept by the New Jersey Devils.
Currently the Red Wings’ director of pro scouting, he was elected to the United State Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
He finished his NHL career playing 929 games, totaling 197 goals and 545 assists along with 10 goals and 51 assists in 101 playoff games.
Also going in as honored members on Monday were Mickey Redmond and Terry Jones.
Redmond received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for exemplary broadcasting and Jones received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for bringing honor to journalism and to hockey.
Jones worked in Edmonton for years while Redmond has been a broadcaster for CBC and has been on Red Wings broadcasts for years.
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