About 6 hours after learning that he was going to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, Glenn Anderson's cell phone rang for what must have seemed like the millionth time yesterday. This time, it was me on the other end of the phone and I received the same warm greeting that I'm sure everyone else who talked to Glenn yesterday did. We got to talking and I asked him what he thinks were some of the best moments of his career. He stopped and then sighed.
"Almost too many memories," he said.
Right back at ya, Andy. I simply don't have enough time in my day to list or describe all of the accomplishments of #9.
Here are a few:
- Multiple appearances with the Canadian National team.
- Recorded career NHL regular season totals of 1,129gp, 498g, 601a, for 1,099 points.
- Recorded career NHL playoff totals of 225gp, 93g, 121a, for 214 points.
- 4th all-time in playoff goals (93) and points (214).
- Six Stanley Cup Championships.
- Played in four NHL All-Star Games (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988).
But, when Anderson reflects on his career, it isn't the stats that jump out. His memories are all about the personal relationships that he built. "It's a team sport and anybody who says 'I'm really happy with what I've accomplished'...it's not that at all," explained Anderson. "It's about what you accomplish with your team. At the end of the day, it's about the special moments off the ice with my team. The fact that at the end of the day you can go out and still be friends and talk about the great memories that you have because you have a common bond and a special feeling with each other."
Known as a clutch player, Anderson says it was the personal feelings that gave him the extra gear when he needed it. "Just hanging out with the guys in practice and off the ice they meant so much to me. So, when it was on the line, I knew what it meant for them and for me," Anderson says. "When the game was on the line I wanted to make sure I came through for my teammates."
However, despite being one of the greatest playoff performers of all time, Anderson was passed over many times by the Hall of Fame selection committee. Complications in his personal life likely had something to do with that, because it's hard to fathom that the numbers could have been ignored. Anderson says he didn't dwell on it, but always wondered in the back of his mind why he wasn't being selected. "I'm thinking maybe somebody, somewhere missed something because I'm answering this question every day," Anderson said matter of factly.
"Kevin Lowe told me at the World Championships in Quebec City that if it was going to happen it was going to be this year.
When he did finally get the call yesterday, Glenn says he didn't believe it at first. "I got a call saying that I had to call the Hall of Fame," relayed Anderson. "The number didn't work so they gave me two other numbers and those didn't work; I thought somebody was playing a joke on me."
But, it wasn't a joke. He'll be inducted in November with Igor Larionov, Ray Scapinello and Ed Chynoweth. Anderson told me that it felt like fate had brought him together with Larionov a few months ago. "Over the last few months I've really hung out with Igor and a lot of the Russians," he said. "Slava Fetisov invited me over to his 50th birthday party which was phenomenal. It was kind of cool because they were our rivals back in the day." The relationship with Larionov continued to flourish and they've done numerous charity events together and plan to do more in the future.
#9 is the 6th Oiler to go into the Hall of Fame, joining Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr and Messier. Anderson is a bit concerned that people will view this as just another guy who played on a really good team going into the Hall of Fame. "I just hope that people realize that it's not just another Oiler (going into the Hall of Fame). I hope that people just don't think it's just those Oilers; the resentment," he said. "The Canadiens had a dynasty and the Islanders had a dynasty; there are famous teams that have always been successful but it's because they've got great talent and a great belief in each other."
Finally, I asked Anderson to imagine the night in early November when he's finally going to get his due at the induction ceremony.
"I've had a lot of time to prepare."
Too long, in fact. But, as the old saying goes...better late than never.Dan's Dish:
Among the many who contacted Anderson with congratulations yesterday was soon-to-be Oilers owner Daryl Katz who sent Glenn a text message. "We grew up together when we were in Edmonton and now he's the owner of the team," says Anderson. "Also with Cal Nichols and Patrick LaForge, there are so many fantastic people in Edmonton their heart is in the right spot and they've always been a part of me and they always will be." You can listen to Dan on Inside Sports weeknights from 8 to 11 on 630 CHED.