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THE HALL CALLS ROBITAILLE

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Luc Robitaille was announced for the Hockey Hall of Fame Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES - Luc Robitaille, the highest scoring left wing in NHL history and the all-time Kings leader in goals, was Tuesday selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Robitaille, the Kings’ President, Business Operations, joins Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Brian Leetch as part of the 2009 Induction Class, with induction ceremonies set for Nov. 9 in Toronto.


Video:
Luc Tribute
HOF Interview
FSN Tribute
More Video Coverage | Thrill for Luc
News Coverage
Photos:
A Look at His Career
| Luc Gets the Call
Podcasts: Conference Call
Related Items:
Talk About Luc | Kings Hall of Famers
Transcript of Media Phone Call 

“What I am feeling right now is very difficult to explain,” said Robitaille. “I never set out to accomplish anything like this. When I was a kid, I dreamed of playing in the National Hockey League, and to now be alongside greats like Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky is not only indescribable, it is beyond anything I ever dreamed of.

“I also want to congratulate Steve, Brett and Brian, three players I was fortunate to have played with during my career.”

“This is a tremendous achievement for Luc, his family and the entire Kings organization,” said Kings Governor Tim Leiweke. “We have always been honored to have the greatest left winger represent our franchise and our fans, and we are thrilled to now share Luc with the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

Originally selected by the Kings in the ninth round (171st overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Robitaille went on to play in 1,431 career regular season games with the Kings, Detroit Red Wings – where he won a Stanley Cup in 2002 – New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Robitaille recorded 1,394 points and he scored 668 goals, both records by an NHL left wing, while in 159 playoff games he had 127 points (58-69=127).

One of five Kings to have his jersey retired, Robitaille, 43, burst upon the NHL scene with the Kings at the start of the 1986-87 season and won the Calder Cup Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. He quickly became synonymous with the Kings and played 14 of his 19 NHL seasons with the club. Arguably the franchise’s most popular player ever, Robitaille retired at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season ranked second all-time in games played (1,077), second in points (1,154), fourth in assists (597), first in power-play goals (210) and sixth in penalty minutes (924).

Robitaille has been honored with several awards and he has set numerous records throughout his Hall of Fame career. In addition to being the highest scoring left wing in NHL history and the left winger with the most goals ever, he ranks 10th in overall NHL goal scoring, 20th in overall NHL scoring and he is the only left wing in NHL history to record eight consecutive 40-goal seasons (all with the Kings).

With the Kings, he set the all-time record for goals on Jan. 19, 2006, with his 551st goal to surpass former Kings teammate, mentor, friend and Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, who teamed with Robitaille for one season (1986-87). That season Robitaille, a 6-1, 215-pound native of Montreal, scored his first career goal on his first career shot (assisted by Dionne – Dionne’s 1,600th NHL point) on Oct. 6, 1986. Robitaille would go on to score a Kings-best 45 goals and record 84 points that first season, which was capped not only by the Calder Cup trophy (Robitaille remains the only King to ever win the award) but he was also named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team with teammates Jimmy Carson and Steve Duchesne.

Joined by the legendary Gretzky prior to the 1988-89 season, the duo helped lead a potent Kings offense which reached its pinnacle in 1993 with the franchise’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. That season, Robitaille was named the team’s captain while Gretzky began the season injured, and Robitaille responded by setting NHL records for the most goals (63) and points (125) in one season by a left wing (the points mark is an NHL record and the goals mark was broken in 2007-08 by Alexander Ovechkin). That season also saw Robitaille become the first player in NHL history to score against 22 different teams in one season.

Robitaille would go on to reach several other milestones with the Kings. He became the 27th player in NHL history to score 500 goals (he scored his 500th goal on Jan. 17, 1999) and he was the 12th fastest to reach that mark, accomplishing the feat in 928 games. While in a Kings uniform he also scored his 650th career goal on March 9, 2004, and he played in his 1,000th game as a King on March 13, 2004.

During that 2003-04 season, Robitaille led the Kings in points (51), goals (22), game-winning goals (four), power play goals (12) and shots (221). He was also the Kings nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

During Robitaille’s final season, he served as an assistant captain and had 24 points (15-9=24) in 62 games. He entered the season eight goals shy of tying Dionne for the most goals in Kings history and 99 games behind Dave Taylor in games played. His final goal came on March 14, 2006, against the Gretzky-coached Phoenix Coyotes. He recorded his 15th career hat trick on January 19, 2006 (the night he surpassed Dionne), and Robitaille was also named the Kings nominee for that year’s Masterton Trophy.

Robitaille’s NHL career also included stops with the Penguins, Rangers (where he again teamed with Gretzky) and the Red Wings.

Traded by the Kings to Pittsburgh prior to the start of the 1994-95 season, Robitaille played one season with the Penguins before being dealt to the Rangers where he played two seasons (1995-97). He returned to the Kings via trade in 1997.

Upon his return to the Kings, Robitaille helped lead the team to the postseason for the first time in five years and he scored at least 36 goals for the Kings in three seasons from 1998-01.

After a two-year stint with Detroit from 2001-03, which was highlighted by the Stanley Cup in 2002, Robitaille again returned to the Kings in 2003 when he was signed as an unrestricted free agent. He has played with the Kings ever since, and during his time in the NHL he has been a teammate of five of the top seven scorers in NHL history (Gretzky, Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Dionne and Yzerman), and six of the top seven including Mario Lemieux (who did not play while Robitaille was in Pittsburgh due to health reasons).

An eight-time NHL All-Star, Robitaille was named an NHL First Team All-Star five times and an NHL Second Team All-Star three times, including being named to one of those teams in each of his first seven seasons (all with the Kings). Robitaille has also garnered numerous Kings team wards, including: Most Valuable Player (four times); Most Popular Player (four times); Most Inspirational Player; Leading Scorer (six times - he has also led the Kings in goals eight time); and Community Service (three times).

Internationally, Robitaille represented his native Canada at three international tournaments, including the 1994 World Championship in Italy where his game-winning shootout goal helped Canada capture its first World Championship gold medal in 33 years.

Following his career as a player, his popular No. 20 jersey was raised to the STAPLES Center rafters on Jan. 20, 2007, where it hangs next to the sweaters worn by fellow Hall of Famers Gretzky and Dionne, and Rogie Vachon and Taylor. All five men are in the Kings Hall of Fame as well, and both Vachon and Dionne remain with the team as Royal Ambassadors.

Named to his current position on May 25, 2007, as President, Business Operations for the Kings Robitaille oversees the day-to-day business operations of the Kings. Primarily his efforts focus directly on all business initiatives as it relates to the Kings and the integration of all communication vehicles to the Kings fan base that includes game experience, fan/player relations, community outreach, broadcasting, fan development, LAKings.com, team events and player appearances. He also oversees and influences all Kings business relations and partnerships including season-ticket members, media partners, corporate partners and community organizations.

Luc and his wife, Stacia, have two sons, Steven and Jesse. Luc and Stacia are co-founders of two charitable organizations, Shelter for Serenity and Echoes of Hope.

Here is a list of Kings associated with the Hockey Hall of Fame (Robitaille Billy Smith and Larry Murphy are the only three members drafted by the Kings):

LUC ROBITAILLE, Paul Coffey, Marcel Dionne, Dick Duff, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky Harry Howell, Red Kelly, Brian Kilrea, Jari Kurri, Jiggs McDonald, Jake Milford, Bob Miller, Larry Murphy, Roger Neilson, Bob Pulford, Larry Robinson, Terry Sawchuk, Steve Shutt and Billy Smith.

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