The 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure. These four were selected from a list of seventeen candidates. Bure had to wait for six years after he became eligible and Oates had to wait five years. Both Sundin and Sakic made it in their first year of eligibility.
Following is a brief recap of the careers of the four 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees:
Joe Sakic: One of the game’s greatest ambassadors and a true gentleman. Sakic played his entire career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise. He won two Stanley Cups, numerous individual awards including league MVP, voted to 13 all star games and led Canada to Olympic gold in 2002 when he won tournament MVP. One of the most productive forwards of all time Joe had six seasons over 100 points and is currently 9th on the all time points list. Today, Joe’s retired #19 hangs from the rafters of Colorado’s Pepsi Center.
Mats Sundin: The second Swedish born player to ever be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a first overall draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989 where he played four seasons before being traded to Toronto. In his 13 years with Toronto he was team captain for 11 years. Except for his rookie season, the shortened lockout season and his last half season with Vancouver he scored at least 70 points every year. During his entire career he averaged over a point a game. Internationally, Mats won three gold medals at the World Championships and a gold at the Olympics playing for Sweden.
Adam Oates: Adam began his NHL hockey career with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1985 – 86 season. Known as a set-up man and playmaker he had more assists in the 1990’s than any player except Gretzky. Setting up guys like Brett Hull in St. Louis, Cam Neely in Boston and Peter Bondra in Washington he amassed 1079 assists and 1420 points in 1337 games. He reached the Stanley Cup finals twice, was a six time Lady Byng nominee and played in five all star games. Incidentally, he was named Washington’s head coach on the day of his induction. Not bad for a kid who was never drafted.
Pavel Bure: The “Russian Rocket” dazzled with his lightning speed and dipsy doodle moves. Too bad his bum knees shortened a stellar career where he scored 437 goals and a total of 779 points in just 702 games. In five of his eleven NHL seasons he scored 50 or more goals including two 60 goal seasons. He also starred in three World Junior Championships, winning one gold and two silver medals, won a gold and silver in the World Championships and a silver and bronze at the Olympics.
With the NHL Annual Awards night and the NHL Draft just completed, the naming of the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees capped a fun week in hockey with the stars of today, tomorrow and yesterday all sharing in the spotlight. These three important events officially brought a close to the 2011-2012 season and the NHL can now begin preparations for next year.