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Hockey Hall of Fame Welcomes Class of 2017

With most of festivities over, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario will formally welcome its newest members to the shrine on Monday night.

Danielle Goyette was a steady presence on the Canadian national team in the early 1990s, but knew she needed to up her game to a new lever after women’s hockey was added to the Olympics at the 1998 Nagano Games. So, in August of 1996 she packed her bags and made the long trip to Calgary from her hometown of St. Nazaire, Quebec.

It was a decision that took her down a path that included two Olympic titles and now a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. She would settle in Calgary and later coached the University of Calgary Dinos women’s team and served as a consultant for the Canadian women’s team.

Joining Goyette as part of the class of 2017 are former NHL stars Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya. Long-time Canadian university coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs are also entering the shrine in the builder category.

Both Recchi and Andreychuk played over 1600 career NHL games. Reechi, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, finished with 576 career goals.

Andreychuk, who won a cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, scored 640 goals over his career. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he enjoyed a long and extremely productive career. Immovable in front of the opposition’s net, he would use his size, strength and skill establishing himself as one of the best left wingers to ever play in the NHL.

For Leaf fans and Andreychuk’s hometown, when his name was announced last June as entering the Hall of Fame a sigh of relief and a ‘finally’ was uttered.

Selanne calls it “closure” but not for him. He got his closure going out the way he wanted to, on his terms. For him, the closure is for his good friend and former Mighty Ducks teammate Kariya. His career was cut short when he was forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome. He was just 11 games shy of 1000 for his career but doctors made it clear that he would not have the option to go after the milestone.

Since his retirement, Kariya dropped off the map, living a life of anonymity in Southern California where he resides, surfs, ballroom dances and takes ski trips.

It is fitting that the year Kariya got the call, his teammate Selanne also got the call. “The Finnish Flash” is the highest scoring Finn in NHL history. When he retired in 2014 he was 11th all-time with 684 goals and 15th with 1457 points. He still holds numerous records in the league.

Selanne is just the second Finn to ever be elected to the Hall of Fame, the other being Jari Kurri.

Also, being honoured is Dave Strader who was announced as the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner for his outstanding contributions to play-by-play broadcasting of the game of hockey back on April 17th of this year. Unfortunately, Strader passed away on October 1st at the age of 62 after his battle with cholangiocarcinoma.

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