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Lidstrom, Fedorov, Pronger lead Hall of Fame class

by Corey Masisak

Nicklas Lidstrom , Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger, Phil Housley, Angela Ruggiero, Peter Karmanos Jr. and Bill Hay are the Class of 2015 for the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Hall announced Monday.

The induction ceremony will be Nov. 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Lidstrom, Fedorov and Pronger each was chosen in his first year of eligibility.

"It's very humbling to be included alongside the esteemed group of players and builders in the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015," Pronger said. "It's very exciting to think about becoming an honored member. It's certainly something I didn't expect while playing."

Nicklas Lidstrom
Career Stats
G: 264 | A: 878 | PTS: 1,142
GAMES: 1,564 | +/-: 450
Lidstrom is among the greatest defensemen ever. His teammates nicknamed him "The Perfect Human" near the end of his career with the Detroit Red Wings. A native of Vasteras, Sweden, Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy seven times, tied with Doug Harvey for second most behind Bobby Orr, who won the award eight times.

"Steve Yzerman was our captain in Detroit when I joined the Wings, and he was a big influence on me," Lidstrom said. "Being close to Steve and seeing how hard he worked and showed up for games and played even better in bigger games, I think that was a big influence.

"Going back earlier, Borje Salming was an idol of mine growing up in Sweden and knowing how much success he had playing in the NHL. He was another player I looked up to."

In his 20-year NHL career, all with the Red Wings, Lidstrom played 1,564 games (fourth among defensemen) and had 1,142 points. He is sixth all time in points at the position, though each of the five defensemen in front of him was in his prime during the most offensive era in the history of the League.

Lidstrom won the Stanley Cup four times. He was the first player born and trained in Europe to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, in 2002, and he was first to captain a Stanley Cup champion, in 2008. He was second to Pavel Bure in the Calder Trophy voting in 1992, finished second in Norris voting three times, and though he never won the Lady Byng Trophy, Lidstrom finished second five times.

A member of the Triple Gold Club, Lidstrom won gold medals playing for Sweden at the IIHF World Championship in 1991 and at the 2006 Turin Olympics. He represented Sweden four times in the Olympics.

Lidstrom and Fedorov each was drafted by the Red Wings in 1989. They ended up winning three championships together.

"Sergei and I were roommates for a quite a few years when we played together in Detroit," Lidstrom said. "Sergei helped me out a lot, seeing how he played and prepared every day."

Fedorov won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 1994, and was a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy (1994, 1996).

Fedorov played 18 seasons in the NHL with the Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals. He had 483 goals and 1,179 points in 1,248 games, and 176 points in 183 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I love you," Fedorov said to Lidstrom during the Hall of Fame media teleconference when asked to describe their time together in Detroit. "I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can."

Sergei Fedorov
Career Stats
G: 483 | A: 696 | PTS: 1,179
GAMES: 1,248 | +/-: 261
A native of Pskov, Russia, Fedorov was one of the most famous athletes in the world in the mid-1990s. He was part of Detroit's "Russian Five" when coach Scotty Bowman put him at center with Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov on the wings and Viacheslav Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov on defense.

Prior to coming to the NHL, Fedorov, Bure and Alexander Mogilny formed a devastating line for CSKA Moscow and the Soviet Union. Fedorov helped win the 1989 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 1989 and 1990 IIHF World Championships before defecting during the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. He helped Russia win gold at the 2008 World Championship and represented Russia three times at the Olympics.

"I decided to move on, leave the country for the dream that I experienced in the NHL," Fedorov said. "That was a hard decision, but I was very, very young, only 20 years old. I don't think I knew what I was doing, but my dream was to play in front of 20,000 people in the stands because I experienced that when we had the Super Series with the Red Army team a couple years before that."

Pronger became the only defenseman other than Orr to win the Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy in the same season, in 2000. He played 1,167 games in 18 NHL seasons with the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers.

He also is a member of the Triple Gold club. Pronger won the 1997 World Championship with Canada, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Ducks; He also won gold at the 1993 World Junior Championship and reach the Cup Final with the Oilers in 2006 and the Flyers in 2010.

Known as one of the most physical defensemen of his era, Pronger also logged an incredible amount of ice time. He averaged more than 30 minutes per game in two seasons for the Blues, and more than 25 minutes per game in every full season he played from 1998-99 to 2009-10.

Pronger's career was cut short by injuries. He last played Nov. 19, 2011, because of concussion issues, making him eligible for the Hall of Fame this year.

"Somebody briefed me that [the Hall] was talking about maybe changing the bylaws and allowing injured players who were still under contract to be able to go into the Hall of Fame. I knew at that point I'd been out for about three-and-a-half years," Pronger said of a change that happened earlier this year. "It was exciting to hear the news. … I got the call today from [Lanny McDonald] and [John Davidson] and was very excited to get it."

Housley had 1,232 points in 1,495 games across 21 seasons with eight teams. He has the fourth-most points in NHL history among defensemen. One of the top offensive defensemen of his generation, Housley had at least 60 points in a season 12 times.

He represented the United States at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, winning a silver medal, and two times in the Canada Cup. Housley also appeared in the NHL All-Star Game seven times. He is the second-leading scorer among American-born players behind Mike Modano.

Housley last played in 2003, but the wait is finally over for him.

"The players who went in before me are really great players who deserve to be in there, but you always have a little doubt because it has been such a long period now," Housley said. "You sort of come to this point every summer and see who gets elected, but I can forget all those years in the past now because I'm actually going in."

Ruggiero won gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, silver at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics and bronze at the 2006 Turin Olympics with the United States women's team.

The 2004 Patty Kazmaier Award winner at Harvard as the best player in NCAA women's hockey, Ruggiero helped the United States win the world championship in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and finish second six times.

"I benefited so much from hockey starting to be part of the Olympics in 1998 and being part of that first gold-medal team," Ruggiero said. "We had so many trailblazers come before me. Cammi Granato is someone who really set the path for me. I'm more than pleased that I can do that for others.

"Hockey is hockey, regardless of gender, and it is just great to be part of the Class of 2015."

Hay made his debut as a player with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1960, becoming the first NCAA graduate to play in the NHL. His resume includes contributions while serving as president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, president and chief executive officer of the Calgary Flames, and most recently as chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Karmanos has been involved in hockey for more than four decades. He started the Compuware youth hockey program, has owned Ontario Hockey League franchises for 30 years (including the Plymouth Whalers, which was the first in the United States) and bought the Hartford Whalers in 1994 and moved them to Raleigh, N.C., to become the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997.

Joining the 2015 inductees at the ceremony in November in Toronto will be Bob McKenzie of TSN, who won the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Nick Nickson, radio voice of the Los Angeles Kings, who is the winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to broadcasting.

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