Dino Ciccarelli didn't let a broken leg stop him from proving his critics wrong. His diminutive size was nothing compared to his passion and will to succeed, especially in the dirty areas of the ice.
The Minnesota North Stars took a chance on Ciccarelli when he was 19 years old and he wound up playing 19 years in the NHL, scoring 608 goals and 1,200 points. He waited eight years to get here since retiring in 2002, but Ciccarelli got to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.
Here is some of what Ciccarelli had to say in his speech, the final one of a historic night:
"Oh boy. It's been a great weekend. I've met some terrific people. Bill Hay told me Mark Messier cried for 17 minutes, and I'm not going to do that, I promise. I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but this year, in my line of work I'm usually one of the small guys but in the Class of 2010 I think I am the tallest person here. Sorry guys.
2010 Hockey HOF inductees (Getty Images)
"We had a party last night at Wayne Gretzky's (restaurant), about 150 people there, a lot of Hockey Hall of Fame members there, and it really kind of set in. They brought the Stanley Cup over for us and family and friends got to take pictures. I wasn't one of the fortunate ones to win a Stanley Cup but my daughters wanted to take pictures with it and I was a little nervous about that. Toward the end of the night, some players got on stage and Paul Coffey and Glenn Anderson were there, and I said to them, I'm still not comfortable touching this thing. They said, you're in the Hall now and it doesn't matter. That made me feel really special.
"I went to London and having to leave my home was pretty tough on my parents. Moving into a new home with a new family was difficult. I moved in with Roy and Laura Chappy and I consider you guys my second parents. Without your help obviously I would have never made it.
"Bill Wang was my coach for four years in London. Coming in as a 16 year old he put me in a position to succeed. He threw me on the top line with my roommate and top centerman on the team, a guy by the name of Dan Eastman. He took me under his wing that first year and I learned a lot from him.
"The next guy, I think a lot of you people know, he was a trainer for the London Knights for 38 years. When I was 17, I broke my femur and without his support along with the Chappys and my mom and dad, I really don't believe I would have made it. The leg really took two years to heal and after a year coming back it still didn't feel strong enough, but their persistence and I remember Donny would always say to me, 'You're not going to let a broken leg get in the way of you fulfilling your dreams.'
"After going through two drafts unselected, Scotty Bowman showed some interest and so did Lou Nanne. I felt the opportunity would be better playing in Minnesota and I'm grateful to Lou Nanne. He said I could score goals prior to breaking my leg and if I got the leg back in shape I would score goals again. I started in Oklahoma City, he called me up on some occasions and I ran with that opportunity.
"The next guy I'd like to mention is well known. Bryan Murray traded for me three different times and it's no surprise that Bryan is still in the game. He brought me over when I went from Minnesota to Washington. Moving to Detroit, the experience there for me was tremendous. I was there for five years and I guess like the last 30 years the Wings are in the top three or five to win a Cup. Unfortuantely in my time there we didn't win, but we were close. I played with some great players, Stevie is in the room, Paul Coffey, Fedorov, Vernon…you can go on and on, and obviously one of the best coaches in the game, Scotty Bowman.
"Everybody thought me and Scotty didn't like each other, but the truth of it is we were very competitive people. Scotty always rested his players and I was too proud, I wanted to play. I learned later that a guy that won 12 Stanley Cups, I should have listened to him. Jimmy (Devellano), you can attest, I probably should have kept my mouth shut in Detroit. I would have won a few Cups.
"Through the years as a hockey player most guys do get traded. It's easy for us to pack our bags, hop on a plane and you meet up with 20 other guys. The kids have to go from one school to another school. The wife at home has to pack up, get the kids out of the house, enroll them into a new school. I know it's been tough on you guys, so thanks for putting up with it all those years.
"In 2006, I lost my dad and then last February I lost my mom. I said I'm not going to look at my sister because she cries all the time. I know they're in the room, they're here in spirit and if you know my dad he has a big old smile on his face right now. He was the driving force behind my hockey career. He was a very hard man to please. He encouraged me and he pushed me to be the best. They were a great team. My dad was tough and my mom kept things together. I love you guys. I know you're in the room.
"In closing, throughout my life I have watched so many celebrations and I felt if I ever had the opportunity to win the Cup I'd like to say thanks to so many people along the way, but I never got that opportunity. It's such an honor to be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and I would love to share this with a lot of great hockey players that never won the Cup and a lot of great players that are never going to get up here."