The IIHF has announced the Hall Of Fame Class of 2019, to be inducted at May’s World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia, with two native Slovaks and the top women’s player in history highlighting the class, as the IIHF will induct Miroslav Šatan, Žigmund Pálffy, Hayley Wickenheiser, Jörgen Jönsson and Mike Modano to the Hall.
🇸🇰 Miroslav Šatan first joined Slovakia deep in Division C of the World Championship in 1994, helping Slovakia emerge in the Top Division by 1996, becoming finalists by 2000, and World Champions by 2002. Šatan played at a staggering 14 World Championships for Slovakia, along with four Olympics and the 1996 and 2004 World Cup, winning Worlds gold in 2002, silver in 2000 and 2012, and bronze in 2003. Šatan also had a lengthy professional career spanning 14 NHL seasons in Edmonton, Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh and Boston, playing in two All-Star Games and winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, along with four seasons in the KHL and two Slovak Extraliga titles in 1994 and 2012. Šatan now serves as General Manager of the Slovak national team, and managed Team Europe’s surprise silver medal finish at the 2016 World Cup.
🇸🇰 Žigmund Pálffy, with Satan, emerged as one of the top stars of the new Slovakian national team, helping Czechoslovakia win bronze at the 1991 World Junior Championship before joining the independent Slovak team at the 1994 Olympics, leading the tournament in points. Pálffy helped Slovakia climb from Division C to World Championship gold in less than a decade, winning the 2002 World Championship and winning bronze again in 2003, also leading the latter in points. Pálffy also enjoyed a 12-year NHL career with stints in New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, being named a four time All-Star before playing out his final five seasons with his hometown club HK Skalica.
🇨🇦 Hayley Wickenheiser, the most decorated player in the history of women’s hockey, has a staggering resume to bring to the Hall, bringing Team Canada Gold from four Olympics, seven World Championships, eleven Nations Cups and two Pacific Rim Championships, along with another twelve silver medals (one Olympic, six World Championship, five Nations Cups), never once settling for bronze in her 23-year career. Wickenheiser is the all-time leading women’s scorer at both the Olympics and World Championships, holds eight Olympic and four World Championship records, and was twice Olympic MVP, in 2002 and 2006. Wickenheiser was the first woman to score in a professional men’s league in Finland in 2003, and professionally she won the Clarkson Cup in 2016 with the Calgary Inferno.
🇸🇪 Jörgen Jönsson, the all-time leader in games played for Tre Kronor with 285, first joined the team for their 1994 Olympic gold medal run, winning Olympic gold again in 2006, along with a pair of World Championship titles in 1998 and 2006. Jönsson capped for Sweden at 12 World Championships, four Olympics and the 2004 World Cup, also collecting three silvers and four bronzes at the World Championships. Despite short stints for New York and Anaheim in the NHL, Jörgen chose to remain in Sweden for his pro career, spending sixteen seasons in the SHL (13 of those with Färjestads BK), winning five league titles before retiring in 2009.
🇺🇸 Mike Modano, the all-time American goals and points leader in NHL history and arguably the first breakout American-born star in the NHL, Modano played in three World Championships, three Olympics and three Canada / World Cups, most famously part of the Team USA squad that upset Canada to win the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996, also winning Olympic silver in 2002. Modano also had a terrific pro career with the Minnesota / Dallas Stars franchise, as well as his hometown Detroit Red Wings, being named to eight All-Star games, captaining the Stars to their (and his) only Stanley Cup title in 1999.
Special mention also goes out to the other inductees this year – builder Boris Alexandrov (Kazakhstan), Bibi Torriani Award winner Konstantin Mihaylov (Bulgaria) and Paul Loicq Award winner Jim Johansson (United States).