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Niedermayer grateful, honored to be inducted

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- TSN and the Hockey Hall of Fame picked the right guy to give the testimonial on Scott Niedermayer prior to his induction speech Monday night.

The one choice and the only choice was his brother, Rob Niedermayer, who won the Stanley Cup with Scott as members of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 four years after losing the Stanley Cup to Scott and the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

"When I think of Scott Niedermayer, I think of a leader. Where ever he has gone he makes people around him better," Rob said. "The way he leads is more by example. He'll say what needs to be said in the dressing room, but definitely he's a guy that will go and show the team what needs to be done. Whenever there was a pressure situation, he was the one who would go make a big play for us. That was a big reason why we won and that was a big reason why he won the Conn Smythe."

When Scott finally got on stage and took out his notes, he quipped, "Thanks for stealing a bunch of my material there Rob. I'm going to have to redo this on the fly."

He did just fine.

Niedermayer started by thanking the Hall of Fame staff and the 18-member Selection Committee, led by Pat Quinn and Jim Gregory.

"It's an honor to go into the Hall alongside the four other inductees here today who have made tremendous contributions to the game of hockey," he said of Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney and the late Fred Shero.

"Over the last few years, I've had the time to reflect on my career and it is very humbling to realize how many people who have helped me along the way."

Niedermayer then started his long list of thank yous. It started with his parents, Bob and Carol.

"None of this would have been possible without you guys, without your love and support," he said. "You taught us the value of respect, hard work, commitment and responsibilities. You didn't want to hear excuses, you wanted us to ask what more could we have done. I could probably not say thank you enough. Thank you and I love you guys."

He mentioned his extended family and friends who made the trip up to Toronto to be with him for his induction. He mentioned his grandmother and his wife's cousin, who could not be here.

Niedermayer spoke of his childhood, growing up in Cranbrook, British Columbia and playing hockey on the street, in the neighbor's driveway, on the ponds and local rinks. He mentioned his youth coaches and thanked Ken Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Don Hay and Ed Dempsey, who coached him in junior hockey when he played for the Kamloops Blazers, with whom he won the Memorial Cup in 1991.

Renney is in attendance.

"In 1991, a dream came true when Lou Lamoriello drafted me to the New Jersey Devils," Niedermayer said. "Lou, thank you for your dedication for building a first-class organization and your commitment to winning."

After thanking some friends he made in New Jersey, Niedermayer thanked his coaches, in particular Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson and Pat Burns. Lemaire led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 1995; Robinson did it in 2000 and Burns in 2003.

He mentioned how Lemaire challenged him and made him a better player. He said he learned from one of the best in Robinson. Niedermayer joins Lemaire and Robinson in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I was fortunate enough to play for Pat Burns," Niedermayer said. "He demanded the most out of every one of us every night. He got us to play our best at the most important time of the year. It was a special moment getting to see him realize his dream of winning the Stanley Cup."

Niedermayer went on to thank his teammates in New Jersey, particularly the five in attendance: Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Colin White, Jay Pandolfo and Joe Nieuwendyk.

"Scotty, I want to think you for taking me under your wing and showing me how to be a pro," he said of Stevens.

He mentioned Martin Brodeur, who is not here.

"I would also like to thank Marty Brodeur for making me a better defenseman," Niedermayer said. "He bailed me out more times than I could count."

He gave Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson a mention for allowing him to realize his dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics in 2002.

He then started talking directly to Rob.

"One of the best memories of my career was being able to compete alongside my brother Rob," Niedermayer said.

"As tough as it was shaking hands after the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, it made passing you the Cup in 2007 more memorable. "You were an important part of that team and I couldn't be more proud to call you my brother."

He went on to thank the Samueli family in Anaheim. He thanked Brian Burke and Bob Murray for building the Ducks' championship team in 2007 and "giving me a chance to play alongside my brother."

Then Niedermayer started talking about his family, including his wife, Lisa, and his four boys Logan, Jackson, Josh and Luke.

"There was nothing better than getting a big hug after you guys after a tough game or a long road trip," he said to his boys.

"Lisa, your love and unwavering support was always there when I needed it," he continued. "I love you and look forward to sharing the rest of our lives together."

Niedermayer ended by saying how privileged he feels to have the career that he had.

"I will always cherish the experiences that I shared with my teammates in victory and defeat," he said, "and I'm very honored to be inducted into the Hall."


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