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Hall of Fame

Excellence, longevity mark McCreary's ride to Hall

Sunday, 11.16.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

It's a little more than 40 miles from Guelph, Ontario, to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Making that trip took Bill McCreary more than 26 years and 2,000 NHL games.

McCreary will become the 16th on-ice official to be honored when he and the rest of the Class of 2014 are inducted into the Hall on Monday. It's an honor he said he never thought about when he stepped on the ice to work his first game.

"From the beginning, I always wanted to do well and be one of the best. But I never had the goal of being in the Hockey Hall of Fame," he told NHL.com. "I wanted to do the best that I could … and it was a great way for me to make a living for my family while staying with a wonderful game."

McCreary said he got involved in officiating for a simple reason: He realized he wasn't going to make it as a player.

"I played junior hockey; I wasn't very good. When I returned home to Guelph, I joined the local referees association in Guelph and got involved there," he said. "At the NHL level, we were fortunate that we had [linesmen] Ron Asselstine, Will Norris, Ray Scapinello and [referee] Andy van Hellemond; we had lots of representation in Guelph at the pro level. They encouraged me to get involved with the little kids, the minor hockey kids, which I did, and I really enjoyed giving back to the game. It just seemed to snowball from there."

Hall of Fame inductees reminisce at fan forum

Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 7:05 PM / Hall of Fame

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Mike Modano is connected to each of his fellow classmates this weekend at the Hockey Hall of Fame in a unique way.

Modano nearly played for coach Pat Burns before his NHL career ever started. One of his highest highs and one of his lowest lows came against Rob Blake and Dominik Hasek. Some of his greatest playoff series came against Peter Forsberg.

Then there is referee Bill McCreary. When the members of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 gathered Saturday in the Great Hall to tell stories about their careers and answer questions from a room full of eager fans, Modano recalled an important moment early in his career.

"I was a little bit of a whiny, spoiled teenager when I started," Modano said. "Bill came up to me, he pulled me aside and he told me, 'Mike, if you show a little effort to work through some of the clutching and grabbing and not try to show us up as far as embellishing some of the falls out there, we're always going to give you the benefit of the doubt.' I've always remembered that."

'Calculated' Burns pushed Devils, Daneyko

Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ken Daneyko went to Pat Burns with a cigar, a smile, a handshake and a mea culpa on June 10, 2003, less than 24 hours after Burns essentially reserved his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame by leading the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup championship.

"That's when Pat said, 'You know, Kenny, it's all part of it and I knew it was going to make a difference,'" said Daneyko, the former Devils defenseman. "It was about winning. It always was about winning."

Burns won 501 games in a Hall of Fame career, but it was his victory with the Devils on June 9, 2003 that brought him to the pinnacle of the sport. One of the last monumental coaching decisions of his life happened the day before he became a champion. Daneyko was at the center of it.

Courage, respect defined Burns' Hall of Fame career

Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pat Burns started his coaching career 31 years ago as an assistant with the Hull Olympiques who could burrow through his players immaturity with a stern stare and booming voice emanating out of his bearded face, a look born from his work as an undercover police officer in Gatineau, Quebec.

"He would show up at games with a long beard because he had missed a week because he was doing some undercover stuff," said Luc Robitaille, then a 17-year-old rookie with the Olympiques. "He was pretty scary."

Twenty-one years later, Burns, always revered as the toughest and most hardened man in any rink he was in, raised the Stanley Cup after coaching the New Jersey Devils to a Game 7 win against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Hall of Fame inductees embody hockey's globalization

Friday, 11.14.2014 / 7:09 PM / Hall of Fame

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- One of the greatest developments for hockey in the latter part of the 20th century was the increased globalization of the game and the development of star players from all over the planet.

The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014 embodies that movement as well as maybe any group inducted to this shrine to the sport. The four players, from four countries, each played a pivotal role in an important international triumph. Someone from the Class of 2014 won every major international tournament from 1994 to 2002.

Peter Forsberg authored one of the most memorable goals in the history of hockey to help Sweden win gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics; Mike Modano helped the United States win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey; Dominik Hasek claimed tournament MVP honors while leading the Czech Republic to gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics; and Rob Blake helped Canada atone for losses in the previous three tournaments with a victory at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.

Hasek had only one goal: to be the man in the net

Friday, 11.14.2014 / 6:15 PM / Hall of Fame

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- There was never any other choice for Dominik Hasek. If he was going to play hockey, he was going to be the goalie.

"I was a goalie from practice No. 1," Hasek said here Friday at the start of Hockey Hall of Fame weekend. "I remember I was 3 years old and I always asked my parents and grandfather to shoot at me in the kitchen at home, in the meadow around the house. I never tried to score on anyone. I always was in the net to stop the ball or stop the puck. When I was 6 and at my first practice, I came to the hockey rink as the goalie."

Turns out it was a very astute decision. Hasek received his Hockey Hall of Fame ring with this year's other inductees: Mike Modano, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, referee Bill McCreary and coach Pat Burns (accepted by his widow, Line Gignac Burns). The group will be inducted Monday.

Forsberg's compete level drove Hall of Fame career

Friday, 11.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Talk to anyone that was around Peter Forsberg during his playing days and one word comes up repeatedly.

Competitive.

"He's so competitive and he hates losing more than anyone I know," said former NHL star Markus Naslund, who grew up in Sweden playing with and against Forsberg. "He would do anything he could to be the difference."

"He was a true competitor," former teammate Rob Blake said. "Always beat up physically, but when the game started he was ready."

"I think just how competitive he was," said Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, one of many young Swedes who grew up idolizing Forsberg. "Something that I took from him was I could see three guys be on him, and he would still hang on to the puck."

Forsberg's competitiveness was one element of a stellar career that has earned him enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He'll join Blake, Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Pat Burns and Bill McCreary when the 2014 induction ceremony is held Nov. 17 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Unorthodox Hasek dominated on way to Hall of Fame

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

If the awards and records don't say it, the nickname certainly does.

Dominik Hasek was known as The Dominator for good reason.

At the peak of a career that will see the 49-year-old inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, Nov. 17, Hasek won six Vezina and two Hart trophies with the Buffalo Sabres and a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first with NHL participation. He added two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring with the highest NHL career save percentage at .922.

Modano grew Texas hockey on way to Hall of Fame

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Mike Modano retired in 2011 after playing 1,499 regular-season games, the Dallas Stars great had to have known he had a strong chance to one day be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But truth be told, there was never any doubt.

Modano, the all-time leader in goals (561) and points (1,374) among players born in the United States, will enter the Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 17. He received the call in June while driving in his car and when he saw who was on the other end, he knew he had to stop.

"Just a little disbelief. You just don't feel like there's a part of you that buys you're going in with the greats to ever play the game," Modano told NHL.com. "You feel like you, in some weird way, you don't belong in there with those guys. But it was quite a call. I just had to pull over to the curb to take that one."

Modano is one of four players who will enter the Hall this year, joining Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake. Former referee Bill McCreary will also be enshrined, along with former coach Pat Burns, who was posthumously elected. Modano's thrilled to be a part of such a tremendous class; he played against Hasek when the Stars defeated the Buffalo Sabres in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.

Blake used motivation to pave way into Hall of Fame

Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Rob Blake knew he was in trouble when he found himself sitting on the milk crate at the end of the bench at old St. Louis Arena. It was Nov. 20, 1993, the 21st game of the season after Blake helped the Los Angeles Kings reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Kings coach Barry Melrose wasn't giving him any free passes.

"They had a milk crate at the end of the bench because the bench wasn't long enough," Blake told NHL.com. "The first shift I had a giveaway up the middle and they scored. My next shift was coming up and I don't go. Barry calls another guy. Then he calls another guy. Eventually I'm sitting on the milk crate for two periods."

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