Dave Andreychuk said this day began just like any other year. Until it wasn't.
Andreychuk knew it was Hall of Fame announcement day; he always does. But after eight years of not receiving the call, he'd begun to treat the day like it was business as usual. On this particular occasion, he was leaving to pick his wife up from the airport - she was flying back from Buffalo - when his phone rang. A 416 area code appeared on the screen - Toronto.
His heart beginning to race, Andreychuk pulled over to the side of the road and answered the call.
Andreychuk was announced as one of the inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 on Monday afternoon. He was one of four NHL players selected, along with Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Teemu Selanne. Danielle Goyette, Clare Drake and Buffalo native Jeremy Jacobs round out the class.
"The years that I have waited make no difference to me," Andreychuk said. "It is quite an honor to be amongst the fellow Hall of Famers … My family and I are extremely thrilled to be honored in November. We look forward to that day."
Andreychuk has been eligible for induction since 2009. His 640 goals ranks 14th in NHL history, and he was the only 600-goal scorer - save for Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla, both of whom are still active - not in the Hall. Andreychuk also holds the record for power-play goals with 274.
The Sabres selected Andreychuk with the 16th pick in the 1982 Draft, the same year they drafted Phil Housley - their last player to earn a Hall of Fame induction - with the sixth pick. Andreychuk said he still watches the Sabres often, and will do so even more now that his former teammate is coaching them.
"Breaking into the league at the same time as Phil and watching his career up close, there's no doubt in my mind it was well deserved that he got into the Hall of Fame," Andreychuk said. "I don't know him as well as a hockey coach, I only watch from afar, but knowing him as a person and the way he knows the game, I'm not surprised of his success there. I'm glad for Buffalo that he's back."
Andreychuk scored 386 goals and 436 assists for 804 points during his nearly 12 full seasons in Buffalo. His point total is second only to Gilbert Perreault in franchise history, and he called the fact that he ended up passing Perreault - who he credited as an early mentor - in career points "mind-boggling."
Now, Andreychuk joins Perreault as the latest Sabre to make the Hall of Fame. And, though he'd go on to win a Stanley Cup as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, he reserves a special place in his heart for the city where his career began.
"Buffalo is really always going to be home for me," he said. "I started there at 18. Yes I got moved around a little bit after being there for almost 12 years, but I was always going back to Buffalo. My three children were born there. My wife is from there. I think it's great for the Buffalo Sabres to have all these inductees."