The Hockey Hall Of Fame today announced the newest members that will join as the Class of 2018 on November 12, with a pair of Canadian Martins (Brodeur and St-Louis), Alexander Yakushev and Jayna Hefford entering the players wing of the Hall, bringing their professional and international accolades (along with their International Hockey Lineal Championship reigns) to Toronto.
Martin Brodeur, the winningest goaltender in NHL history, was a first ballot guarantee after retiring in 2015 after an illustrious 22 year career, spending all but one season with the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur set the NHL records for most wins, shutouts, games and saves, winning the Vezina Trophy as top goalie four times, Jennings Trophy for top save percentage five times, and backstopping the Devils to a trio of Stanley Cups. Brodeur was also the backstop for Canada’s historic Olympic Gold medal in 2002, also playing for Canada at the 2006 and 2010 Games (winning Gold at the latter), also winning the 2004 World Cup (and finishing second at the 1996 iteration) and a World Championship Silver in 1996 and 2005.
Martin St-Louis, who many doubted would ever make the NHL, helped revolutionize the role of a small forward in pro hockey, winning a Hart Trophy, Pearson Award, two Art Ross Trophies and three Lady Byng Trophies over a sixteen year career with Calgary, Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers, winning a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004. Internationally, St-Louis won Gold for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2004 World Cup of Hockey, along with a pair of Silver medals from the 2008 and 2009 World Championships.
Alexander Yakushev, perhaps best known for his epic matchups against Team Canada in the 1972 and 1974 Summit Series, had an epic career both with Spartak Moscow of the Soviet League and the Soviet national team. With Spartak, Yakushev led the Gladiators to three Soviet League titles and two USSR Cups, along with two European Cups and three Ahearne Cups. And with the Soviet team, Yakushev’s career spanned far longer than just the Summit Series (although he did lead the Soviets in points in the 1972 tournament), winning seven World Championship titles (1967, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979), along with two Silvers (1972, 1976) and one Bronze Medal (1977).
Jayna Hefford, a mainstay with the Canadian roster since joining the team in 1997, retires as the second-highest scoring player in Team Canada history. Perhaps best known for scoring the game-winning goal of the 2002 Salt Lake Games, capturing Canada’s first ever Olympic Gold, Hefford retires with 24 total Golds, including 4 Olympic (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), 7 World Championship (1997, 1999-01, 2004, 2007, 2012) and 13 Three / Four Nations Cups (1997-2002, 2004-07, 2009-10, 2013), along with another 10 Silver medals. With Brampton of the CWHL, she retired as the all-time leader in goals and points, and now the league’s MVP title is now named in her honour.
Also inducted into the builders category were Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s colour barrier in 1957 with the Boston Bruins and has remained with the NHL as an ambassador, and Gary Bettman, the current NHL commissioner who has overseen the game’s expansion into the American South, and spearheaded the introduction (and subsequent removal) of NHL players to the Olympics, and the revival of the World Cup of Hockey. Our congratulations go out to these hockey legends on joining the Hall Of Fame this November!