Bateman: A group of “success engineers” enter the temple
The seven members of the 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame class, consisting of Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Caroline Ouellette, Ken Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix, were honored Monday.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman highlighted the contribution and impact of these five players and two builders on the sport of hockey.
Gary Bettman welcomed the Class of 2023 by creating a common bond among the seven inductees, after briefly reflecting on the recent death of former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Roman Chechmanek and the passing of defenseman and Hall of Famer Borje Salming a year ago.
“While we mourn those who are no longer with us, they still live on in our memories,” Commissioner Pittman said. I invite you not to forget them.
“The 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame class is truly remarkable. But what amazes me is that the five former players and two builders that we are honoring and inducting tonight all have one trait in common: All seven were what I call the ‘architects of success’ who walk into the Hall.”
“By this I mean that the Seven either laid the foundation for the team to achieve a sustained level of excellence or served as a fundamental building block to get there. It is simply difficult to imagine that the teams they played in, or that they coached or managed, would have achieved such success without them.”
Commissioner Pittman spoke of the strength and vision of Pierre Lacroix and Ken Hitchcock, who were included in the Construction category.
“The late Pierre Lacroix, who was larger than life, assembled a talented young nucleus in Quebec that blossomed to the point of winning two Stanley Cups in Colorado, when that nucleus was augmented by some of his most astute acquisitions,” the commissioner noted. .
“Ken Hitchcock immediately set the framework for his players in Dallas to succeed once he took over as the team’s rookie head coach. Ken’s presence led to five straight sectional titles and two straight Final Fours, as well as a Stanley Cup in 1999.
Then the commissioner turned to the five people who were included in the category of players.
“From the University of Minnesota Duluth to the CWHL to twelve FIHG World Series appearances and four Olympic gold bids, Caroline Ouellette has spent her entire career doing just that, and winning — and just winning. And each time, she has provided the kind of talent and leadership that lies at the heart of winning teams.” For titles at the elite level.
“Pierre Turgeon was a first-round pick, and he lived up to that status during his 19 seasons in the NHL. His prolific offensive production as a scorer and playmaker paved the way for resurgent seasons and deep playoff runs for the Sabers, Islanders and Blues, and he carried the torch high as the team’s captain Al-Kindi. »
The commissioner noted that the historic induction of three goaltenders may mean that we can describe the ceremony as the Year of the Goalie, because it is the first time that three goaltenders have been inducted into the NHL at the same time.
“Mike Vernon rose to the occasion when it mattered most, and in doing so, led two teams to championships that defined — and redefined — the identity of the franchise: Calgary’s Stanley Cup in 1989 and Detroit’s first Cup in 42 years in 1989.” 1997.
“A child prodigy who won Calder and Vezina Trophies as a rookie in Buffalo, Tom Barrasso became a hero in Pittsburgh, where his brilliant play in the biggest games helped the powerful Penguins win their first two Stanley Cups in franchise history.
“And Henrik Lundqvist, whose remarkable combination of class, competitiveness and brilliance in Game 7 and the gold medal game gave him a distinguished career on Broadway with the Rangers as well as on the world stage with Sweden.”
Commissioner Pittman referred to the full group of inductees as “seven truly inspiring individuals, all of whom undoubtedly earned their induction this evening.” »
He concluded his speech by congratulating the honorees from media figures Mark Mulvoy and Dan Rusanowski.
“This remarkable group deserves every distinction, all our admiration and the privilege of being a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.”