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Pat Burns to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens - The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which was announced Monday. Goaltender Dominik Hasek of the Czech Republic and Swedish center Peter Forsberg were joined by one of the best American players ever in center Mike Modano, along with defenseman Rob Blake, coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary.

The inductees were chosen by an 18-person committee this past weekend in Toronto. The 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be Nov. 17.

Hasek won the Vezina Trophy six times in his 16-year NHL career, which is tied for the second-most of all time behind Jacques Plante. He's also the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy more than once, earning League MVP honors in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

He won 389 games, 11th in League history, and led the NHL in save percentage six times. While he did not win the Stanley Cup until later in his career (twice with the Detroit Red Wings), he punctuated his prime by helping the Czech Republic to a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first time NHL players participated.

"After I retired I really began to appreciate what the game did for me," Hasek told the Hockey Hall of Fame website. "My goal was just to make the NHL, and achieving this recognition is far beyond what I could have imagined."

Forsberg became a national hero before becoming an NHL champion. His shootout goal to help Sweden secure the gold medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics is the most famous in the 1-on-1 format in the sport's history. The moment has been commemorated on a postage stamp in Sweden.

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers, Forsberg became part of the massive package used to acquire the rights to Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques in 1992, and Forsberg went on to be one of the best players of his generation while winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Colorado Avalanche.

Forsberg won the Calder Trophy in 1994-95, the Hart Trophy in 2002-03 and the Cup in 1996 and 2001. His career was cut short by injuries, but he finished with 249 goals and 885 points in 708 career games. His 1.25 points-per-game average is eighth all-time, and his 0.90 assists per game rank fifth.

He's also 11th all-time in points per game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, having racked up 171 in 151 playoff games.

"It's been a good run and I wouldn't change places with anybody," Forsberg told the Hockey Hall website. "Joining Borje Salming and Mats Sundin in the Hall of Fame as the third Swedish member makes it especially gratifying for me."

Modano is the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history, with 561 goals and 1,374 points, His 1,499 games played, all but 40 with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise, are the most by a U.S.-born forward.

A seven-time all-star, Modano was the face of the franchise when it moved to Texas, and he remains the best player in club history in either city. He helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999, and he leads all American players with 146 playoff points.

"When I played I always hoped that I could make an impact on the game, both on and off the ice, and this honor recognizes that," Modano told the Hockey Hall website. "I love this game, and as an American born player I owe a lot to the people in Prince Albert [Western Hockey League] who helped me take my game to the next level."

Blake had 240 goals and 777 points in 1,270 games with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks. He won the Norris Trophy in 1997-98 and the Stanley Cup in 2001 with Colorado. He just won the Cup a second time as an executive with the Kings. He also won gold with Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

"This is a tremendous honor," Blake told the Hockey Hall of Fame website. "I am fortunate to have been around the game of hockey and have it be a key part of my life for as long as I can remember."

Burns was elected in the builder category. He spent parts of 14 seasons as a coach in the NHL, winning the Jack Adams Award with three teams and capturing the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He also reached the Cup Final in 1989 with the Montreal Canadiens and got the Toronto Maple Leafs to back-to-back conference finals in 1993 and 1994. Burns died Nov. 19, 2010.

"It's a great day for me and my family," Lynn Burns, Pat's widow, told the Hockey Hall website). "I'm speechless and tremendously happy. Pat would be proud and this is well-deserved."

McCreary was inducted in the referee/linesman category. He officiated 1,737 regular-season games and an NHL-record 292 playoff games from 1984 to 2011. He also worked 44 Stanley Cup Final games, also a record. He also referred in three Olympics (1998, 2002 and 2010), working the gold-medal game in each competition, and also in the 1991 and 1994 Canada Cups.

"I was fortunate living in Guelph to be encouraged to get into officiating by some of the NHL greats that were involved in the game there," McCreary told the Hockey Hall website. "Just as with the players, being in the Stanley Cup Final is the goal of any official and I'm pleased that I was able to have that recognition on several occasions."

Also part of this year's Hall ceremonies will be USA Today hockey reporter Kevin Allen, the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Chicago Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, who received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting.

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