Better Late Than Never: Wait almost over for Hockey Hall of Fame’s pandemic class
TORONTO – Kevin Lowe waited 19 years for the call.
Doug Wilson’s phone sat silent longer still — 24 consecutive springs of eligibility before it finally rang.
So another 365 days for the Hockey Hall of Fame’s pandemic-delayed class of 2020 was probably no big deal, right?“
“Not at all,” Lowe said with a laugh Friday. “We got to relish the moment even longer.”
Lowe and Wilson are joined in the 2020 player category by Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa — elected in their first years of eligibility — and Canadian women’s national team goalie Kim St-Pierre, while Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is going in as a builder.
“I never even viewed the Hall of Fame as a reality,” said Wilson, GM of the San Jose Sharks. “It’s just a privilege that it happened.”
“We got to be a unique class,” Lowe added.
The inductees were originally announced following the 18-member selection committee’s vote back on June 24, 2020, but the ceremony was delayed a year because of COVID-19.
The hall, which will officially welcome its newest members Monday, then made the decision to not have a class of 2021 so the current group wouldn’t have to share centre stage.
“The health of people was the priority,” St-Pierre said. “We knew that this day would happen.”
A former captain and franchise icon with the Flames, Iginla put up 525 goals and 1,095 points in 1,219 games from 1996 through 2013 with Calgary before stops in Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado and Los Angeles. The winger finished with 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season contests to go along with 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists) in 81 playoff outings.
Iginla, 44, won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer in 2001-02, and grabbed the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy with the most goals that season and then again in 2003-04.
“Whenever it was going to happen, I was thrilled,” Iginla said of the pandemic throwing a wrench in plans. “It’s such an honour.”
Selected 11th overall at the 1995 NHL draft by Dallas before being dealt to the Flames as part of the Joe Nieuwendyk trade, Iginla willed Calgary to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, but never again got close to hockey’s ultimate prize.
While he didn’t enjoy much NHL team success, Iginla won two Olympic gold medals and played a key role in one of the most iconic moments in Canadian hockey history, assisting on Sidney Crosby’s 2010 golden goal.
“It’s really cool, the whole process,” Iginla said. “It does make you look back.
“There are so many things to be thankful for.”
A three-time Cup champion, Hossa finished his career with 525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games with Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago.