TORONTO -- While praising the five new members who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman singled out his own employee as his "personal favorite."
Brendan Shanahan is the League's Senior Vice President in charge of Player Safety.
"Obviously my personal favorite is Brendan Shanahan, because I think his contributions to the game based on what he's doing now will even exceed what he did in the 21 years he played," Commissioner Bettman said. "He's making a real mark on how the game is played, making it safer for current players and generations to come."
Asked how long he thinks Shanahan will last in his current position, Commissioner Bettman replied, "You'll have to ask Brendan, but hopefully a very long time."
He gave Shanahan credit for staying true to his values and beliefs despite receiving criticism on a daily basis.
"Listen, he's probably endured more criticism in the last few years than he did in 21 years that he played," Commissioner Bettman said, "but he's smart, he's passionate, he's thoughtful, he's articulate and he's strong-willed, which are all important elements in doing what is the most thankless job."
As for the entire Hall of Fame class, which also includes Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney and the late Fred Shero, Commissioner Bettman praised them for being "people who have brought a level of excellence and passion to the game. They've all made the game better and stronger."