The IIHF has announced the Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, to be inducted at May’s World Championships in Cologne, Germany. All five players set to be inducted into the players category bring a swath of major international accomplishments (including many International Hockey Lineal Championships) to the Hall, as the IIHF is set to honour Joe Sakic, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selänne, Angela Ruggiero and Uwe Krupp.
Teemu Selänne, who has been named Finnish player of the year eight times and is arguably the greatest player ever to suit up for Finland, retires having played for the Leijonat at a record six Olympics, becoming the all-time points leader in Olympic hockey, and being the oldest hockey player to medal, adding a bronze in 2014 to his 2006 silver and 1998 and 2010 bronzes. “The Finnish Flash” also played in five World Championships, the 1991 Canada Cup, and both the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey, winning silver in the latter. Selänne’s NHL career was just as legendary, winning a Stanley Cup, Calder Trophy, Rocket Richard Trophy and playing in 10 All Star Games in his illustrious 21 year career with Winnipeg, Anaheim, San Jose and Colorado.
Joe Sakic first suited up for Canada at the 1991 World Championships, later helping Canada to end their Gold medal drought in their famous 1994 shootout victory. Sakic would join Canada again at both the 1996 and 2004 World Cup and Olympics in 1998, 2002 and 2006, sealing the victory to capture Canada’s first Olympic Gold in 50 years at the Salt Lake City Olympics, being named tournament MVP. Professionally, Sakic spent all 21 seasons of his NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques / Colorado Avalanche franchise, serving as captain for 17 seasons and winning two Stanley Cups, the Hart Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy, and was a 13 time All Star.
Saku Koivu was arguably the top offensive performer for the famed “Hupu, Tupu and Lupu” line that won Finland their first ever World Championship Gold in 1995, ending 67 years of futility for the Leijonat. In addition to his 1995 Gold, also won two World Chmapionship silvers in 1994 and 1999, a silver and three bronze Olympic medals, and a silver at the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey. Koivu led the 1998 and 2006 Olympics in scoring, and was a three-time World Championships All Star. Despite a shortened career due to lymphoma, Koivu had a tremendous 18 year NHL career with Montreal and Anaheim, serving as captain of the Canadiens for ten seasons, the first European captain in the club’s famed history.
Angela Ruggiero joined the U.S. national team as the youngest player on the Gold-winning squad at the Nagano Olympics, just her second major tournament. Ruggiero went on to capture four World Championship Gold Medals and a trio of Three / Four Nations Cup Golds, highlighted by the shootout winner to win the first-ever U.S. Gold Medal at the 2005 Worlds. Ruggiero also became the first non-goaltender female to play in a regular season professional game in the Central League in 2005, after an illustrious collegiate career at Harvard, capped in 2004 with winning the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top U.S. collegiate player.
Uwe Krupp, the monster-sized defender who was the first German to win the Stanley Cup, spent 21 seasons with six NHL teams, winning Stanley Cups in 1996 (with Colorado) and 2002 (with Detroit), and was a two-time NHL All Star. Since his retirement in 2003, Krupp has turned to coaching, first managing the German national team from 2005-11 before joining the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. Krupp played for the Träger der Adler at two World Championships and the 1998 Olympics, and coached at another six Worlds and the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, also coaching Germany’s latest IHLC victory in 2007.