11.08.2010 / 9:39 PM ET
Dino Ciccarelli didn't let a broken leg stop him from proving his critics wrong. His diminutive size was nothing compared to his passion and will to succeed, especially in the dirty areas of the ice.
The Minnesota North Stars took a chance on Ciccarelli when he was 19 years old and he wound up playing 19 years in the NHL, scoring 608 goals and 1,200 points. He waited eight years to get here since retiring in 2002, but Ciccarelli got to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.
Here is some of what Ciccarelli had to say in his speech, the final one of a historic night:
"Oh boy. It's been a great weekend. I've met some terrific people. Bill Hay told me Mark Messier cried for 17 minutes, and I'm not going to do that, I promise. I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but this year, in my line of work I'm usually one of the small guys but in the Class of 2010 I think I am the tallest person here. Sorry guys.
"I went to London and having to leave my home was pretty tough on my parents. Moving into a new home with a new family was difficult. I moved in with Roy and Laura Chappy and I consider you guys my second parents. Without your help obviously I would have never made it.
"Bill Wang was my coach for four years in London. Coming in as a 16 year old he put me in a position to succeed. He threw me on the top line with my roommate and top centerman on the team, a guy by the name of Dan Eastman. He took me under his wing that first year and I learned a lot from him.
"The next guy, I think a lot of you people know, he was a trainer for the London Knights for 38 years. When I was 17, I broke my femur and without his support along with the Chappys and my mom and dad, I really don't believe I would have made it. The leg really took two years to heal and after a year coming back it still didn't feel strong enough, but their persistence and I remember Donny would always say to me, 'You're not going to let a broken leg get in the way of you fulfilling your dreams.'
"After going through two drafts unselected, Scotty Bowman showed some interest and so did Lou Nanne. I felt the opportunity would be better playing in Minnesota and I'm grateful to Lou Nanne. He said I could score goals prior to breaking my leg and if I got the leg back in shape I would score goals again. I started in Oklahoma City, he called me up on some occasions and I ran with that opportunity.
"The next guy I'd like to mention is well known. Bryan Murray traded for me three different times and it's no surprise that Bryan is still in the game. He brought me over when I went from Minnesota to Washington. Moving to Detroit, the experience there for me was tremendous. I was there for five years and I guess like the last 30 years the Wings are in the top three or five to win a Cup. Unfortuantely in my time there we didn't win, but we were close. I played with some great players, Stevie is in the room, Paul Coffey, Fedorov, Vernon…you can go on and on, and obviously one of the best coaches in the game, Scotty Bowman.
"Everybody thought me and Scotty didn't like each other, but the truth of it is we were very competitive people. Scotty always rested his players and I was too proud, I wanted to play. I learned later that a guy that won 12 Stanley Cups, I should have listened to him. Jimmy (Devellano), you can attest, I probably should have kept my mouth shut in Detroit. I would have won a few Cups.
"Through the years as a hockey player most guys do get traded. It's easy for us to pack our bags, hop on a plane and you meet up with 20 other guys. The kids have to go from one school to another school. The wife at home has to pack up, get the kids out of the house, enroll them into a new school. I know it's been tough on you guys, so thanks for putting up with it all those years.
"In 2006, I lost my dad and then last February I lost my mom. I said I'm not going to look at my sister because she cries all the time. I know they're in the room, they're here in spirit and if you know my dad he has a big old smile on his face right now. He was the driving force behind my hockey career. He was a very hard man to please. He encouraged me and he pushed me to be the best. They were a great team. My dad was tough and my mom kept things together. I love you guys. I know you're in the room.
"In closing, throughout my life I have watched so many celebrations and I felt if I ever had the opportunity to win the Cup I'd like to say thanks to so many people along the way, but I never got that opportunity. It's such an honor to be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and I would love to share this with a lot of great hockey players that never won the Cup and a lot of great players that are never going to get up here."
Jimmy D gets his due after 44 years in the game
11.08.2010 / 9:17 PM ET
Jim Devellano used to work just down the street here from the Hockey Hall of Fame as claims adjustor for the unemployment insurance agency. That was about two or three miles up Yonge Street.
Today, on the corner of Front and Yonge, Devellano can look back at his old job and say, "Thank god I left it." He went to work for the Blues for free as a scout in 1967 and the rest is, as they say, history.
He drafted young studs who became Hall of Famers like Mike Bossy and Steve Yzerman. Tonight, the seven-time Stanley Cup champion, became a Hall of Famer himself.
Here is some of what Devellano had to say in his induction speech:
"Let me begin by offering my congratulations to the other inductees. First, Angela James and Cammi Granato, I'm thrilled to be going in with the first women, the inaugural class. Daryl "Doc" Seaman has done so much for hockey and still continues the legacy with his family. It's wonderful that he's being honored. Then, an old former player of mine, a competitor, great goal scorers, we used to have a lot of battles, Dino and I, but he was a terrific player and I'm thrilled to be going in with you Dino. I'm really delighted to be sharing this evening with such a fine and worthy group of inductees.
"I've had the good fortune in working in the greatest hockey league in the world for 44 years. I've gotten some lucky bounces along the way, but I have really been lucky in working with some wonderful people who gave me opportunites and put their faith in me and I'd like to thank many of those people.
"To the very first general manager of the St. Louis Blues, the late Lynn Patrick, for allowing me to get my foot in the door and work for the original St. Louis Blues as a scout here in the Toronto area. I really had no background but had a great passion for hockey and I wanted to find a way to somehow get into the National Hockey League. Lynn Patrick gave me that opportunity.
"It was while I was in St. Louis that I would meet up with a young coach by the name of Scotty Bowman. We became friends and many years later I would bring him to Detroit to coach our Detroit Red Wings, and I guess we all know how that turned out with three Stanley Cups. Thanks for being my friend and very supportive.
"In 1972 I joined another expansion team, the New York Islanders. Actually, in our first year, Bill Torrey and I remember people calling us the Hapless Islanders and we were the Hapless Islanders. It didn't last long, though. Bill Torrey hired me as he was putting his front office together. Bill gave me a ton of responsibility, he was a great boss, my mentor, he was and is my friend. We would enjoy three Stanley Cups together before I would move on to Detroit and become the general manager in 1982. Bill, thank you for your mentorship and getting me ready to become a general manger in the NHL.
"I grew up in Toronto as a hockey crazy kid with a crazy dream of someway becoming a general manager of an NHL team, probably because I couldn't play. Thanks to Mike Ilitch, his lovely wife Marian, and their family, Chris and Carol, who are here tonight, I was able to realize that dream. Early on we endured some particularly tough years, but you hung tough with me in spite of a lot of criticism at times, and the last 20 years have brought us all a ton of joy. I want to thank Mike, Marian and your family for putting a lot of faith in me and hanging in there with me.
"In 1985, after a terrible season, we brought in a guy by the name of Jacques Demers. He just did a tremendous job for us, taking us from last place in 1985 to the final four against the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers in back to back seasons. Jacques reinvigorated hockey in Detroit. He was a good coach. He got the players to play hard for him and we had a lot of success. Jacques, thank you, thank you, thank you for getting hockey back on the map in Detroit.
"Franchises like the New York Islanders of the 1970s and 80s and the Red Wings of the 90s and 2000s succeed because of Hall of Fame players and I have been both lucky and blessed to be involved with many. Denis Potvin, Michael Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Billy Smith were the glue of those great Islander Stanley Cup teams and that dynasty. Then we go to Detroit, and boy oh boy did we get lucky in Detroit. With our very first pick in our first draft in 1983, fourth overall, we chose Steve Yzerman. He was the player we built our franchise around. He was a superstar. He remains a close personal friend of mine. He was the heart of our team for a remarkable 22 seasons. Now, as the new general manager in Tampa Bay with the Lightning, we can already see the wonderful work that Steve Yzerman has begun with that franchise.
"Let me express my gratitude to another wonderful player who has been so ingtegreal to our success and that's Nicklas Lidstrom. He is the best defenseman in Detroit Red Wings history and one of the very best in the NHL's 93 seasons. We had other huge contributors to our Stanley Cups, Brendan Shanahan, Dominik Hasek, Luc Robitaille, Brett hUll just to namea few. All superstars and all came to us late in their careers to help us win several Stanley Cups. Thanks guys.
Finally, I want to pay tribute to a very special person we don't ever want to forget and his name is Vladimir Konstatinov. We know of the tragic accident he faced. He was and is a warrior, a great friend and a cherished member of our Red Wing family. I just enjoy so much going up to Mike and Marian's box and Konstantinov comes up and sits there and cheers with our team. We don't want to forget him. He is a wonderful guy.
"If my 44 years in the NHL demonstrates anything it is you should never give up. Failure is not necessarily final. My long, sometime turbulent journey to Hockeytown is proof of that."
Doc Seaman posthumously enters the Hall, honored by son Bob
11.08.2010 / 8:43 PM ET
Bob Seaman said his speech, given on behalf of his father, would be short and to the point because that's the way his dad would have wanted it. Say thank you, express how humble you are and get out of the way would be Doc Seaman's motto tonight.
Well, Bob Seaman spoke for five minutes and 51 seconds about his Saskatchewan born father who became one of the icons of Canadian hockey through his philanthropic work and smart business principals.
Here are some excerpts of what Bob Seaman had to say:
"Who really knows what impacts people and causes them to make a difference. Maybe it's a simple moment growing up. The engaging memory for Doc was looking out a one room schoolhouse in Saskatchewan and daydreaming of sport. Who would know that Doc would impact and help develop Canada's game.
"Who knew? From this dusty rural upbringing with strong values, a never stop work ethic, a love so sport, cowboys and frontier explanation…Doc would recount how brother B.J. would dig the puck out of the corner for Doc to swoop in and convert it to a goal. Building business was similar, Don and B.J. were in the corners and Doc was there to convert.
"Thank you for this honor.
"If Doc were here to accept this award he would like another accomplishment, the shortest acceptance speech in Hockey Hall of Fame history. His was the cowboy way…he had a firmness of spirit. Later in life, his book, 'Stay in the Game,' became his message. Doc was always in the game and on his game until he died.
"Doc enjoyed simple pleasures. He wore tee shirts, rarely threw out under wear.
"After the war Doc completed his engineering studies in Saskatchewan and went on to business. The road was not easy, the loss of his wife, his grandson, the challenges of business, the war and life itself. Hard work, hard work and more hard work guided him in what he did everyday. He was mostly proud of his tangible manifestations because they provided him the forum and the outlet to engage his systems of values. It was not for him that he developed these things, but for others and to prove to the world that his values were correct.
"My hope is that we are guided by the less tangible but more significant legacy of his character. Values that were forged in Saskatchewan prairies during great depression and held in World War II. They are values that are noticeable in the correctly played game of hockey at any level. Values that were about do more and say less. Thank you."
America's hockey sweetheart skates into the Hall
11.08.2010 / 8:24 PM ET
Cammi Granato had a Hall of Fame career and tonight she was finally honored for it. She became the first American woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame just moments ago.
Granato, who was born into a hockey family and married a former player (Ray Ferraro), was the pioneer for women's hockey across the United States. She won Olympic gold in 1998, silver in 2002 and a World Championship in 2005. She retired in 2006, but is still very much involved in the game of hockey.
Here is some of what Granato had to say in her acceptance speech here in Toronto:
"This is absolutely incredible. I am in awe that I am standing here. I'd like to thank the committee for not only considering us, but believing in us and accepting us and understanding that we love the game as much as men do. You're changing the face of women's hockey alone just by allowing us into this club.
"Hockey has been a part of my life since I can remember.
"Angela, facing off against you year after year, there were times I'd get on the ice and see you and say, 'Not again.' There was one time in particular where I finally beat you on a faceoff and I felt a stick across the back of my legs. She did not like that I beat her. There is not another player I played against that had such a presence on the ice.
"Since I got the call back in June I've had time to reflect on my hockey career, and I've looked at my journey deeper than ever before. It's been really fun to go back and look at my past, my childhood. It was my dream to play for the Blackhawks. We had season tickets and that's what I wanted to do. I had the same dream as my brothers and I didn't think I was going to be any different.
"Playing boys hockey for me was really fun. I never thought anything of it unless one of the people pointed it out. I was just another hockey player. There was a time I played with my cousin Bobby and we were in a tournament in Edina and our coach overheard the other coach say, 'I want you to hit the girl on the first shift and take her out.' Our coach came into the locker room and said, 'Bobby, you're No. 21 today.'
"I was 15 years old when I was having a talk with my mom, and I clearly remember the day, and I realized that my dream of playing in the NHL might not come true. It was just too physical. I remember running into my room after we talked and just crying, just absolutely crushed that my brothers were allowed to take their dreams further and I wasn't. There were two years I didn't play hockey. My mom got information that there was college hockey out east. That was good news for me because I didn't know women played hockey at a higher level.
"When I look back at my national team, U.S. career highlights, I obviously think of Japan in 1998. There is nothing like winning an Olympic gold medal. We had an amazing team, great team chemistry, and it was the most special thing I've been a part of. I remember going to the Great Wall of China, looking at one of my best friends on the team Chris Bailey, and we looked at each other, shook our head and couldn't believe that hockey had brought us to this place.
"Walter Bush, if you're here tonight, thank you and others for pushing to get women's hockey in the Olympics. You made our dreams come true.
"There's one person that I want to thank in hockey, and it's Wayne Gretzky. I was in awe of what he was as a hockey player when I was younger, but when I got to meet him off the ice, my brother Tony was a roommate of his when they played in Los Angeles, he was a nicer person off the ice, a class act. Wayne was a big supporter, he was always behind me. He came to one of our events to give out and award and I never thanked him. I regretted it and regretted it, so Wayne, this is my chance to thank you.
"Mom and dad, you gave me a chance to play. People told you were crazy for letting your girl play hockey. You listened to me when I asked for the chance to play and that is so big, I am so thankful.
"Matt and Landon, my step sons, you're such a big part of my family now after hockey. Matt is here today and Landon can't be here because he's forging his own career in hockey, but thank you guys. My husband Ray, the game of hockey brought us together and I'm so thankful for that. We're an amazing team and we've had some great years already. I love you. Reese, my 10-month old, who is at the hotel right now hopefully sleeping, he has no idea what is happening just that his mom is gone a lot this weekend and he's not happy about that. Riley, my 3-year-old, buddy I am so proud of you and mommy loves you so much.
"Robby, my brother, once told me, shoot for the moon because if you miss you're going to hit the stars. Well, Robby, tonight I hit the moon."
James makes history, accepts induction into HHOF
11.08.2010 / 8:00 PM ET
Angela James just became the first female to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. James, a pioneer of the women's hockey movement in Canada, was called the "Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey" by Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson in an interview with NHL.com tonight. She was a fearless power forward.
James is already a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Tonight, she became a member of an exclusive club that used to be only for men.
Here are excerpts of what James said in her induction speech moments ago:
"Well, you know, this has been a long time coming and I need to turn around and look at this."
At that point James turned around, looked at her name in lights and raised her arms before turning back and saying, "OK, here goes."
"When I received the call from the Hockey Hall of Fame committee I knew that this was something very special. I was overwhelmed with excitement emotion, but the warmth and the welcome by the Hall, the Hall of Fame committee, the staff, it was just a very familiar feeling to me and that was a feeling of family. I believe this is what the Hall represents -- unbelievable people, great hockey players and history. They gave me a feeling like I was adopted into a new family, except this family was all boys and it needed some girls. So, here we are today.
"Today is a day of celebration. It's a day about our great game. I'm very honored to have with me my family. My brother Bobby, Larry, who couldn't make it tonight from Vancouver. Neil, my sister Cindy, who I had to fight off the TV just so I could watch Hockey Night in Canada. My sister Kim, who dragged my bag…my father, no matter what, if I ever called you you'd be there. My mom, I love you mom. You always found a way to allow me to play. No matter what or where you were, we always found a way to get there. My partner for 16 years, Angela, and our three children: Christian, Michael and Toni, who is sleeping. These are the ones who made the sacrifices night after night to allow me to go out and play the game. I know you might not understand now, Michael, Christian and Toni, but tonight your mom has climbed a very tall mountain. I love you all very much.
"I used to run hockey schools back in the days and I would always arrange for a visit here to the Hockey Hall of Fame for different groups and would always be in amazement about the class of athletes and read all about the great legends inducted. If you would have ever asked me if I would be standing here today, not in a lifetime.
"When I was a kid I didn't think hockey was just for boys. I thought everyone played hockey, because that's what we did as kids. Hockey is what I did and hockey is what I still do today.
"There have been many, many people that have guided me, helped me and coached me both as a player and as a person. Without those people I would not be able to complete this journey.
"I loved competing for my country. I loved competing for my province. I enjoyed the rivalries with Team USA and Team Finland, and playing against Cammi Granato and Cindy Curley in the early days, especially that backdoor play that Cammi seemed to be able to sit there and have a cup of coffee before she put one by us many, many times.
"I guess as I stand here on this historic day for women's hockey, I reflect on the past months and what this induction has meant to myself, my family, friends and so many women and girls playing the great game of hockey. I can only say I feel very privileged to be one of the first females to lead us into the Hall of Fame. The time is right, we are here, we do exist. Thank you very much."
The calls, their reactions, the big night at the Hall
11.08.2010 / 4:20 PM ET
Donning the honored member blazers they received Sunday in a ceremony at Air Canada Centre, the four inductees and the son of builder Daryl "Doc" Seaman accepted their Hall of Fame rings during a ceremony at the Hall this morning.
There is just one more ceremony to go in their monumental weekend, and it's the biggest one of them all.
Angela James, Cammi Granato, Dino Ciccarelli, Jim Devellano and Bob Seaman will each deliver speeches tonight to accept induction into hockey's holiest of places. NHL.com is live on site and you can follow along by clicking refresh on this page throughout the night to read excerpts of the speeches.
James and Granato will become the first two women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ciccarelli has waited since 2002, his first year of eligibility, to deliver his speech. Devellano has been in hockey for 44 years and has been associated with seven Stanley Cup championship teams, so he's got a lot to say. Bob Seaman expects his speech to be the shortest because that's what his father, a driving force behind bringing the Flames and the Winter Olympics to Calgary, would have wanted.
This morning, as they sat on stage in the Great Hall, the Stanley Cup to their left, James, Granato, Ciccarelli, Devellano and Seaman all reflected on where they were and how they reacted when they got the call from the Hockey Hall of Fame asking if they would accept induction into the prestigious club.
James had the most interesting tale. She said she was lying on her couch while chatting on the phone with a reporter who was asking if she thought this would be the year of the women in the Hall of Fame when the phone beeped, she clicked over and it was a representative from the Hockey Hall of Fame telling her she'd been voted in.
"Every year I answered, 'I don't know, I haven't heard yet,' " James said. "Of course, I had to go back to the media person and say, 'I don't know, I haven't heard yet.' But, I got off the phone and I'm like, 'This was the call.' I was bawling."
Granato said she was at the beach with her entire family, including brother Tony, when she got the call. She knew the Hall vote was coming that day and she knew there was a chance for her, so she made sure to have her phone with her when she took a stroll on the sand with her then nine-month old, who she was trying to get to take a nap.
"I saw the 416 area code and said, 'Oh my god, is this it?' " Granato said. "I was waiting for the words because I didn't know if they called to tell you that you didn't make it. My whole family was there. We got some apple cider and had a toast on the beach."
Ciccarelli said he was lucky he even picked up the phone to get the call. For eight years he's been getting calls from reporters, including many from the Toronto area, asking if this would be his year, if he knew anything. On the day they announce the inductees he tries not to answer his phone when he doesn't recognize the number, but he when the call came in around 1 in the afternoon and it was a 416 area code he answered and got the news he'd been waiting for.
"I was just ecstatic," he said.
Devellano was in Toronto when the call came in, so the 416 area code wasn't out of the ordinary for him.
After 44 years, he could finally celebrate his Hall of Fame career.
Seaman said he had just gotten off the tractor and was making himself a sandwich when the Hall called informing him of his father's induction. He said he immediately got on the phone with Doc's brothers, B.J. and Don, to give them the good news.
"Then I went back to work," Bob Seaman said.
So, yes, they all celebrated the news in their own unique ways, but tonight they'll be happily crying together.
Hit refresh on this page tonight to read what they had to say.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl