Tomorrow, the Hockey Hall Of Fame will enshrine four new members into its players category as the Class of 2014 – not just players who shined in their National Hockey League careers, but also for the tremendous careers they achieved internationally. Dominik Hašek, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake and Mike Modano share numerous Olympic, World Championship and World Cup championships between them, in addition to all having held the International Hockey Lineal Championship in their illustrious careers.
Dominik Hašek, known as “The Dominator” for his incredible, unique and highly effective goaltending style, was a two-time Stanley Cup Champion and league MVP in his illustrious 18 year career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings, also playing with European clubs Pardubice, Dukla Kihlava and Spartak Moscow. Additionally, Hašek proudly wore the colours of both pre-split Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic at 5 World Championships, 4 Olympic Games and 3 Canada Cups, winning Gold (and by association, the IHLC) due to his spectacular performance at the 1998 Nagano Olympics that led his country to its first ever Olympic title.
Peter Forsberg, one of the most talented forwards to ever play the game, still made a significant impact for the Québec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators in a career hampered by injuries, winning two Stanley Cups and one league MVP title, also making an impact for his hometown MODO of the Swedish league. For the Tre Kronor, Forsberg suited up for 5 World Championships, 4 Olympic Games and 2 World Cups, capturing the IHLC as a result of Sweden’s Gold Medals at the 1992 and 1998 World Championships, as well as Olympic Gold in 1994 and 2006, the former which etched his legend in Sweden for his now-legendary Gold-winning shootout goal.
Rob Blake, the long-time defensive anchor for the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks that won him a Stanley Cup in 2001, was also a defensive stalwart for many iterations of Team Canada, playing in 5 World Championships, 3 Olympic Games and the 1996 World Cup Of Hockey for his country. Blake also captured the IHLC in tandem with Gold Medals at the 1994 and 1997 World Championships, as well as with the Canadian team that won their first Olympic Gold in 50 years in 2002.
Mike Modano, the all-time American goals and points leader in NHL history, led a terrific career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, captaining the Stars to a Stanley Cup in 1999. Playing for the United States, Modano played in 3 World Championships, 3 Olympic Games and 3 Canada/World Cups, most famously as part of the U.S. team that stunned Canada (and the world) by winning the inaugural World Cup Of Hockey in 1996.
Special mention also goes out to the other inductees this year, referee Bill McCreary (who refereed internationally at the 1991 Canada Cup, as well as at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 Olympic Games), and legendary head coach, the late Pat Burns.