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Answering the Hall call

by Dan Rosen /
Dan Rosen is at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to cover Induction Weekend 2008. He will be filing a daily diary to keep the readers abreast of all that's happening at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets. He invites you to come along for his journey.

This morning, the Hockey Hall of Fame, which was closed to the public, opened its doors to the media for the ring presentation ceremony as well as the press conference with the inductees, including Jeff Chynoweth, who was representing his late father, Ed.

It's a pretty formal event as many in attendance, including yours truly, break out the good threads. Suit up, as one might say. Hey, the Stanley Cup was in attendance, so maybe it should have been a black tie only affair.

Canadian sportscaster Gord Stellick -- the guy is everywhere this weekend -- hosted the morning gathering. He gave the podium to Bill Hay, the president of the Hockey Hall of Fame, for a quick welcome speech. Hay then let Jim Gregory, who chairs the selection committee, introduce each inductee and read what is now written on their plaques that will hang in the MCI Great Hall.

Each inductee came up, received their ring and then posed for photographs with Gregory and Hay. Stellick then grabbed them for a quick Q&A before they sat down.

Once they were all introduced and each had their new jewelry on -- Jeff did wear his dad's ring -- Stellick asked each inductee to say where they were when they got the call from the Hockey Hall of Fame on June 17 saying they have been elected.

The answers, as one might expect, were excellent -- and hilarious.

Glenn Anderson initially thought someone was playing a prank on him because when Kelly Masse, the PR director for the Hall, called and told him to call Gregory's phone number, he couldn't get through.

"She goes, 'Call this number.' So I called the number and there was no answer," Anderson said. "I called her back and I'm like, 'What are you guys playing a joke on me?' She said, 'Something is wrong with that phone, so call this number.' I call that number and some guys answers the phone. I go, 'Is Jim there?' He goes, 'Jim who?' And, he hangs up on me. I thought for sure someone is playing a joke."

Anderson finally got through to Gregory about 10 minutes later. He then left to go pick up his daughter and he couldn't wait to give her the news.

She's 6 and didn't care.

"I get to school and I was basking in this glory and she goes, 'Daddy, guess what I did?' I'm like, 'Well, honey, I got inducted into the hall of fame,' " Anderson said. "She said, 'Who cares? You know what, I let my butterflies go today. They are flying free in Central Park today.' Then she asked if I did the laundry and the dishes."

And here Anderson thought the Hall of Fame induction was humbling.

Jeff Chynoweth said he was in the WHL annual meeting in Calgary, which his father would normally have been chairing had he not succumbed to kidney cancer two months earlier. 

"I can say I missed the call because the ringer was turned off because you're not allowed to have phones on in the meetings," Chynoweth said. "It was really nice (when we got the message). My brother (Dean) was there because he's the general manager of the Swift Current Broncos, so he got to share in it right away. It was a special call from Mr. Gregory."


"For Igor Larionov, raising that Cup had to mean more..."


"Taken further from his home than he ever dreamed..."

Igor Larionov said he got the call in the morning Los Angeles time as he was getting ready for his morning workout in the pool. Larionov was certainly elated, but he still did his 45 minutes worth of laps before telling anyone.

If you see how fit this guy is today, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that story.

Stellick then asked Larionov, who owns his own wine business, if he cracked open a bottle once he got home and gave his family the news.

"Well, it was the morning, and the morning is time for orange juice," Larionov said, filling the room with laughter. "Wine has got grapes in it, but you better drink it after 12 o'clock."

Ah, come on Igor, no one has to know. Sneak it.

As for Ray Scapinello, he had the line of the day when Stellick asked him where he was when the call came in?

"Nobody called me," he said. "I just showed up."

In all seriousness, Scapinello said he was in his home office and a huge smile washed over his face, one that he hasn't gotten rid of. Seriously, this guy looked as giddy as anyone up on stage this morning.

Anyway, Scapinello said he immediately tried to call his wife, "but she never answered, so what's the point of having a cell phone?" He tried to call his son, who is playing hockey in Paris, but he also didn't answer.

So, he just sat there smiling in his office for a while.

Tonight's festivities begin soon. In fact, they may begin before this diary even gets posted on the site. People will start showing up on the red carpet at 5:30 but the induction ceremony begins at 7:30 and can be seen on the NHL Network.

I'll have another diary following the ceremonies, so stay tuned.

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