The Hockey Hall of Fame elected four more players with their class of 2011 and two former Panthers were among them as goaltender Ed Belfour and center Joe Nieuwendyk received the call Tuesday afternoon.
For Belfour, he was elected to the Hall on his very first try. The 18-year vet finished his NHL career playing with the Panthers. During the 2006-07 season, Belfour posted a 27-17-10 record with a .902 save percentage. 'Eddie the Eagle' is currently third all-time in goalie wins with 484, and twice won the Vezina Trophy while also winning the Stanley Cup in 1999.
"It is hard to put into words what this means to me," said Belfour in a release. "I would like to thank all of my teammates and people along the way who helped me achieve my hockey dreams."
Nieuwendyk spent parts of two seasons with the Panthers following the NHL lockout. Playing in 80 games with the Cats, Nieuwendyk recorded 64 points before back problems caused him to retire. 'Newy' recorded 564 career goals while finishing with 1,257 points and hoisted the Cup three different times (1989, 1999 and 2003).
"Every player does their best year after year and strives to play at a very high level," said Nieuwendyk. "I truly love the game and love to compete, and I'm pleased to be honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame."
The duo join Igor Larionov (2000-01, class of 2008) and Dino Ciccarelli (1997-99, class of 2010) as players that have worn Panthers jerseys during their careers to become a Hall of Famer. Other people with Panthers ties that are currently Hall of Fame include Bill Torrey as a builder (class of 1995), Roger Nielson as a builder (class of 2002), Bob Clarke (inducted as a player in 1987) and Billy Smith (inducted as a player in 1993).
Other former Panthers that were up for the award included John Vanbiesbrouck, Pavel Bure, Stu Barnes, Sean Burke and Mike Vernon.
The induction of Belfour and Nieuwendyk as well as Doug Gilmour and Mark Howe will take place on November 14th in Toronto.