TORONTO -- The seven members of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2023 were inducted Monday.

Here are some of the key moments from the induction speeches of Tom Barrasso, Henrik Lundqvist, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Caroline Ouellette, and Ken Hitchcock and the family of Pierre Lacroix, who were inducted as Builders, as well as from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's comments.

PIERRE TURGEON: Brotherly love

Pierre Turgeon thanked and honored many during his Hall of Fame speech, but he began with a tribute to the person who first inspired him to play the game.

"As a young man, I was inspired to see my brother, Sylvain, play junior hockey and I dreamed of that for myself and I'm proud to say that we were the first and second pick in the first round in the NHL," he said. "Pretty cool for two brothers."

Turgeon was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 1 pick in the 1987 NHL Draft. Sylvain Turgeon, four years Pierre's elder, was selected No. 2 by the Hartford Whalers in the 1983 NHL Draft and played 669 games with the Whalers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators.

When Pierre was selected by the Sabres, he and Sylvain became the only brothers in NHL history to have been picked first and second in their respective draft years, which remains a record.

Turgeon paid tribute to Pierre Lacroix, who was inducted posthumously in the Builders category Monday. He spoke directly to Lacroix's widow in attendance, Colombe.

"I had the privilege of receiving advice from an amazing man, very sensitive, and close to his players ... Pierre Lacroix," Turgeon said. "From the age of 11, Pierre and his wife welcomed me into their family. I thank you for you for your hospitality and am so honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the same night as this great builder."

He thanked each team he played for (Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche) and many players. He spoke of his time with the Islanders and legendary general manager Bill Torrey and coach Al Arbour.

"Wow, did we learn a lot. [Arbour] was a dad to all of us," Turgeon said.

With the Blues, Turgeon recalled lessons learned from Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis.

“To the conversation we had, driving to the games and the way you communicated on the ice, you definitely pushed me to stay on top of my game, and I thank you for that," he said.

In 2005, Turgeon spoke of how excited he was to be reunited with Lacroix to close out his career alongside Hall of Famer Joe Sakic with the Avalanche.

He concluded by thanking his family, including his wife, Elisabeth.

"I can't help but reflect on our journey that brough us here today," he said. "Thirty years of marriage, four kids, two grandkids and you're my best friend. I want to thank you for your support and for being an incredible mother. I love you." -- Mike G. Morreale

Pierre Turgeon's Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech

CAROLINE OUELLETTE: A life in hockey

Caroline Ouellette said the moment she was exposed to hockey as a little girl growing up in Montreal, she was hooked. She wanted hockey to be her whole life.

“I feel so lucky I discovered hockey as a kid,” Ouellette said. “It instantly became a passion. ... My dream was to play for the Habs, like every kid playing hockey in Montreal.”

But as much as she wanted to, she did not begin playing immediately. She had to convince her parents to let her at a time when opportunities for girls to play were few.

Over the course of about two years, she finally got her parents Andre and Nicole to agree. In fact, it was her mom, without the knowledge of Caroline’s dad, who took her to buy her first pair of skates. Though once she began, her dad was heavily involved in coaching her teams. From the ages 9-17, she played entirely with boys.

“I heard every possible type of name-calling, but these challenges helped me develop a deeper appreciation of how lucky I was to play hockey when so many women around my age didn’t have the same opportunity,” Ouellette said.

Ouellette’s career reached its pinnacle when she won her third of four Olympic gold medals, but this time on home soil at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

“We had one goal and earned important credibility for our sport,” Ouellette said.

Like many athletes, she dreaded the time when she would have to retire, unsure if she would ever be able to replicate the feeling that playing the game brought for her. But now as an associate head coach at Concordia University and with the Canadian national women’s team program, she has been able to fill that void.

“I love the game so much that I was petrified of the moment I would have to retire,” Ouellette said. “Transitioning out of playing is never easy, but as I invested myself more deeply into coaching, I became able to experience through my athletes the same incredible emotions and the same goosebumps that only hockey can give you.”

In 2014, she started a not-for-profit called Girls Hockey Celebration, with the mission of growing opportunities for women as athletes, coaches and referees. This year, the organization will host 100 teams.

“This for me is like a childhood dream coming true for the next generation of players,” Ouellette said. “I cannot wait to witness what is ahead in our great game. I hope I can have a lifetime in it. It would make me the happiest.” -- Dave McCarthy

Caroline Ouellette speaks to the Hall of Fame crowd

GARY BETTMAN: ‘Foundational winners’ welcomed

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman welcomed the Class of 2023 by linking the seven inductees with a common characteristic, after a short reflection on the recent passing of former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek and the loss a year ago this month of Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming.

“Though we mourn those that are no longer with us, they do live on in our memories,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Please don’t forget them.

“The 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame Class is truly remarkable. But what strikes me is that the five former players and two builders we celebrate and enshrine tonight all share a common trait: All seven were what I would call ‘foundational winners.’

“By that, I mean: all seven either put in place the building blocks for sustained team excellence or served as one of those cornerstones. Quite simply, it is difficult to imagine that the teams on which they played, or which they coached or managed, would have achieved success without them.”

Commissioner Bettman spoke to the strength and vision of Pierre Lacroix and Ken Hitchcock, inducted in the Builder category.

“The late, larger-than-life Pierre Lacroix assembled the gifted young core in Quebec that blossomed into a two-time Stanley Cup-winning team in Colorado, when it was bolstered by some of his most astute acquisitions,” Bettman said.

“Ken Hitchcock immediately established the framework for success for his Dallas teams upon taking over as a rookie head coach. Ken’s tenure led to five straight division titles, and two straight Finals and the Stanley Cup in 1999.”

The Commissioner turned to the five inductees in the Player category.

“From the University of Minnesota-Duluth to the CWHL to a dozen IIHF World Championship appearances and four golden performances in the Olympics, Caroline Ouellette spent her entire career doing nothing but winning -- nothing but winning -- and at each stop providing the kind of skill and leadership around which elite, title teams revolve,” he said.

“Pierre Turgeon was a first-overall pick who lived up that designation over 19 NHL seasons. His prolific scoring and playmaking led the way to resurgent seasons and playoff runs by the Sabres, Islanders and Blues and he held the torch as captain of the Canadiens.”

The historic enshrinement of three goalies, the Commissioner suggested, might make the Class of 2023 the year of the goaltender, the first time that three NHL goalies were being enshrined in the same class.

“Mike Vernon came up big when it mattered most and, by doing so, backstopped two teams to franchise-defining -- and redefining -- championships: Calgary’s Stanley Cup in 1989, and Detroit’s first Cup in 42 years in 1997.

“A prodigy who won both the Calder and Vezina trophies as a rookie in Buffalo, Tom Barrasso became a champion in Pittsburgh, where his superb play in the most important games enabled those high-powered Penguins to win the first two Stanley Cups in franchise history.

“And Henrik Lundqvist, whose sublime combination of class, competitiveness and Game 7 and gold-medal game brilliance produced an iconic career on Broadway for the Rangers and on the world stage for Sweden.”

Commissioner Bettman grouped the induction class as “seven truly inspirational people, each of whom has resoundingly earned their induction tonight.”

He closed with congratulations to media honorees Mark Mulvoy and Dan Rusanowsky.

“This fantastic class deserves every accolade, all of our admiration, and the privilege to be called Hockey Hall of Famers.”

PIERRE LACROIX: ‘Your dream came true’

Joe Sakic spoke about Pierre Lacroix as the consummate executive and family man. Max Lacroix talked passionately about his grandfather and what this honor means to the family. And Coco Lacroix, Pierre's widow, fought through tears as she expressed her happiness.

It was an emotional 12 minutes and 30 seconds during the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony to hear Sakic, Max and Coco Lacroix posthumously accept the induction of their former "mentor and role model," "papa and best friend" and "love of my life."

Pierre Lacroix was inducted into the Builder Category of the Hockey Hall of Fame because of a career that featured two Stanley Cup championships with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001. He died Dec. 13, 2020, at the age of 72.

"We all know how proud Pierre would have been to accept this honor here himself tonight," Sakic said, "and there's no doubt hockey is a better with Pierre in it."

Sakic introduced Max, who accepted his grandfather's Hall of Fame plaque from the former Avalanche captain.

Max, 19, is a goalie playing for the Colorado Grit in the North American Hockey League who is headed to Boston University next season.

"I stand before you as the voice of the Lacroix family honored to share with you the remarkable journey of our beloved patriarch Pierre Lacroix as he's inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame," he said.

Max spoke about how Pierre was convinced to start a hockey agency in 1974 by former NHL goalie Bob Sauve. He mentioned that when Mike Bossy signed as his second client it became the Jandec Hockey Agency.

"Pierre's ambitions extended beyond that," Max said. "He wanted to win the Stanley Cup. It became a reality in 1996, bringing Denver its first major sports championship. And again in 2001."

Max switched to French, which is not his first language but was Pierre's. When he switched back to English, he thanked the former owners of the Quebec Nordiques and the Kroenke family, which owns the Avalanche.

He thanked all the players, coaches, trainers and staff members that played or worked under his grandfather. He spoke about snippets that made his grandfather unique, like "epic horn-blowing escapades" and his love of food, specifically Montreal smoked meat.

"Boy, could he grill a mean steak, though," Max said.

Max called Pierre "Papa" and said he was "truly my best friend. We shared a special bond. I'm so honored to be standing on one of the most prestigious stages of hockey just telling the world how proud I am of my best friend."

Max then asked his Uncle Martin to bring Coco, Pierre's widow and his "nana," to the stage.

Staring up to the ceiling and fighting through tears, Coco Lacroix spoke to her late husband.

"Your dream came true my love," she said. "I'm so happy." -- Dan Rosen

Lacroix honored at Hall of Fame ceremony

KEN HITCHCOCK: Love for his players

Ken Hitchcock, enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder, spread credit for his fame liberally among people from many walks of life.

“I guess this is a great honor for me personally, but it’s also a great honor for the players I coached,” he said. “I feel like I'm so honored to be able to go in with this group of people. I admired them from afar, but I’ve got to know them through this last week and boy, there's some really impressive people here.”

Hitchcock’s speech was a broad thank-you to his family, friends, players, managers, fellow coaches and others in hockey, at every level, and beyond the game who have touched his life.

He began his remarks with his roots, born in Edmonton, a rink-rat at the facility that was managed and maintained by the father he would lose at age 14.

“I tagged along every night. I came from school to the rink, and that's where I learned to live at the rink. I helped them pull hose. I helped scrape the ice. I helped him edge the ice. I was with him every day.”

Hitchcock’s father coached midget and juvenile teams in the district, instilling in his son a love of the profession that would become his lifeblood.

“My heroes growing up were not players,” Hitchcock said. “They were coaches.”

He loved the meetings in broom closet-sized coach’s offices. Saturday morning trips to Edmonton Gardens to watch junior B, major-junior and senior hockey were life-defining moments.

Hitchcock thanked the early coaching mentors in his life: Clare Drake, George Kingston, Dave King and his best friend, Wayne Fleming. Heroes included Glen Sather and John Muckler, “who brought it to a whole other level.”

It was from these influential figures that Hitchcock learned the obligation to give back to the game, to share the information he was absorbing.

From coaching midget in Sherwood Park, Alberta, to eye-opening major junior in Kamloops, British Columbia, to the minor pros and into the NHL, first as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers, then head coach with the Dallas Stars and beyond, Hitchcock said he grew as a coach and a man.

He spoke of the support he had at every step of his journey, especially management that let him run teams his way and hire people he believed were smarter than himself.

And he used his speech as a “do-over,” as he called it, a chance to tell his players how much their buying into his concepts and personal sacrifices meant to him, for the betterment of the team.

“I was a demanding coach,” he said. “I was relentless. And I was very proud of being that. And I know that may be a bad word to some people, but it's not to me. It means that I'm not afraid of the players. I'm not afraid of doing the tough stuff. And I think the players really respect and appreciate that. But I really admire the players. I was in awe of the players. I was in awe of their ability to sacrifice, their ability to commit and buy into what I was trying to sell.

“I'm a big fan of what they did for me personally and how they made me look good. … I'm going to say this right now: I love the players. I love you guys. I think the world of you.”

Hockey, Hitchcock said, “has given me a great life. … It’s given me a life that I could have never imagined. It's given me friends that I can count on and hopefully can count on me. I feel like I'm the luckiest guy in the world.” -- Dave Stubbs

Hitchcock makes speech at Hall of Fame ceremony

TOM BARRASSO: ‘No one gets here alone’

Tom Barrasso reflected on the opportunities and people that led him to the Hockey Hall of Fame during his induction speech.

"No one gets here alone,” the goalie said. "You need love, you need support. And, most importantly, you need opportunity from people along the way in your journey. And I'd like to share this night, and this honor, with people who supported me and gave me the opportunity to be here in this room with you all tonight.”

He started with appreciation with his parents, Tom and Lucy, who adopted him, along with a brother and sister.

“They loved us and supported us in everything we did," Barrasso said. "My parents knew nothing about hockey other than the arena seemed like a good place for the kids to be."

When the arena went bankrupt, Barrasso said his parents became part-owners to keep it alive.

"They became hockey people, they love being at the arena, seeing the joy brought to all who skated there," the 53-year-old said. "I started working at that arena in the summer when I was 12 -- sweeping floors, cleaning toilets. To this day, I have never worked any place else but a hockey arena."

Barrasso also thanked the teammates he played with throughout the years, including NHL stops with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.

"I'd like to thank my teammates through the years, with whom we shared great success and failure," he said "Epic card games, golf games. We have a bond that cannot be broken. And we shared a time in all of our lives that cannot be replicated. My thanks to all of you."

Barrasso said that despite whatever skill he might have possessed, he needed to be given opportunities. He singled out three people, each a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Scotty Bowman, who presented Barrasso with his Hall of Fame plaque, was the man who drafted the American high-schooler with the No. 5 pick in the 1983 NHL Draft. He started on opening night for the Sabres four months later.

"My career was on my way," Barrasso said.

In 1988, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Tony Esposito, a Hall of Fame goalie, traded for Barrasso, who won the Stanley Cup two times there.

"Tony believed in me and believed that I would be a difference-maker,” he said. “Two years later, the Penguins were Stanley Cup champions. I'm forever grateful to Tony for the opportunity he provided for me. It truly changed my life."

The final man he cited was another general manager in Pittsburgh, Craig Patrick. In 2000, Barrasso's father died and his daughter, Ashley, had a recurrence of her childhood cancer.

He said, at the time, hockey was the furthest thing from his mind. He took a year off and when he decided to return, he was selected to represent the United States in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Patrick was the GM of that team.

"Being an Olympian is truly a highlight of my lifetime, and I put it right beside my two Stanley Cups," Barrasso said. "These three men believed in me, they acted on it, and I am grateful to them for the opportunity that they presented to me." – Shawn P. Roarke

Tom Barrasso makes his Hockey Hall of Fame Speech

MIKE VERNON: ‘Well, I made it’

When Mike Vernon played his first and only game of the 1983-84 season, induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame seemed like an impossibility.

“11 minutes played, four goals against; .333 save percentage and a 22.22 goals-against average,” Vernon said. “And they still let me in here. ... That, I confirm, was a low point.”

But his career quickly turned around; he went on to help the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup in 1989. He would win another championship with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, when he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs.

Vernon finished 385-273 and 92 ties over 781 NHL games with the Flames, Red Wings, Florida Panthers and San Jose Sharks.

When he thanked his four children, Vernon said they were too young to have remembered him playing -- though they did become familiar with their dad’s career, thanks to a highlight that found its way on to their television each weekend.

“They knew me first as a father, but then they’d see the highlight intro to Hockey Night in Canada when the Great One (Wayne Gretzkt) was scoring on me,” Vernon said. “Every weekend, the kids would point it out and get a good chuckle out of it. You’d think that was the only goal that guy scored.”

To finally earn entry into the Hall of Fame long after his playing career ended in 2002 was something he did not expect.

“And now, to have this happen 21 years after I finished my NHL career, this means more to me and my family than you could possibly know,” Vernon said.

As he thanked his parents, Vernon shared a story of a question his mom once asked him after his playing career ended.

“Mom, you asked me once if I was ever going to go into the Hall of Fame? Well, I made it,” Vernon said. -- Dave McCarthy

Mike Vernon makes his Hall of Fame Speech


Henrik Lundqvist accepted his Hockey Hall of Fame plaque from Patrick Roy, an idol of his when he was a kid growing up in Are, Sweden.

"He was such a huge inspiration for me growing up," Lundqvist said opening his induction speech Monday. "I'll never forget this moment, ever."

Lundqvist, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023, his first year eligible, spoke about being an 8-year-old boy in Are, talking with his grandmother and expressing his one big concern at the time.

"What if I get stuck in this small town and nobody will ever see how good I am?" Lundqvist said.

Lundqvist won 459 NHL games, the most by any European-born goalie. He is the only goalie in NHL history to win at least 20 games in 13 straight seasons. He won the gold medal at the Olympics and IIHF World Championship with Sweden.

He spoke about that journey from a sandpit in Are as a kindergartener to Madison Square Garden in New York, and now the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I find it ironic that my early concerns eventually led me to the big stage on Broadway," Lundqvist said. "It's almost like it was meant to be. But growing up, I always had big dreams. My dad told me, my brother and my sister, 'Dream big, it'll inspire you to work harder.' I'll never forget that. But to be honest I never saw this."

He thanked his teammates.

"I was pretty intense, demanding at times," he said. "To all my former teammates just know I was even more demanding of myself. It was a roller coaster. I loved winning so much and losing is just the worst. It really affected me how I lived my life. But I was really lucky to play with so many great teammates. I often think of them and how much joy they brought my life."

He thanked his coaches, particularly goalie coach Benoit Allaire, who was with him for all 15 seasons with the Rangers.

"You're the best coach and best friend you can ask for," Lundqvist said to Allaire, who was in the audience.

He thanked his agents, Don Meehan and Craig Oster. He thanked Rangers chairman James Dolan and former general manager and president Glen Sather, who drafted him. He spoke to Rangers fans "for the love and support you showed me throughout my career and continue to do as I run into so many of you in New York City and around the world."

Lundqvist got emotional talking about his family starting with his parents, mom Eva and dad Peter, sister Gabriella and twin brother Joel. He called Gabriella his biggest supporter and said the impact Joel had on him as a person and as a player "cannot be overstated."

Then he spoke to his wife, Therese, and their daughters Charlise and Juli, thanking them for their love and support. He called Therese his rock.

"Hockey was something that guided me through life, gave me purpose," Lundqvist said. "I feel so lucky that I found something so strong and passion, so much passion for something at such an early age, and it's given me so much, more than I could ever imagine."

He left the stage to people in the audience chanting "Hen-rik, Hen-rik, Hen-rik," the famous chant he heard countless times at Madison Square Garden. -- Dan Rosen

Lundqvist addresses crowd at Hall of Fame ceremony

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