The IIHF has announced the Hall Of Fame Class of 2023, to be inducted at May’s World Championships in Tampere, Finland, with five different nationalities highlighting the class, as the IIHF will induct Henrik Zetterberg, Brian Leetch, Caroline Ouellette, Cristobal Huet and Jimmy Foster to the Hall.
🇸🇪 Henrik Zetterberg, one of the most consistent and effective players of his generation, spent all 18 pro NHL seasons in Detroit, capturing a Stanley Cup in 2008, along with a Conn Smythe, King Clancy and NHL Foundation trophies in 1,082 career NHL games. A member of Tre Kronor since the 1998 European Under-18 Championships, Zetterberg would suit up for a World Junior Championship, six World Championships, four Olympics and the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, capturing consecutive Gold at the 2006 Olympics and World Championship, part of the first (and now just one of two) national teams to win both in the same calendar year. A member of the Triple Gold Club, Zetterberg also holds an Olympic (2014) and World Championship (2003) Silver, along with two World Championship Bronze Medals (2001, 2002).
🇺🇸 Brian Leetch, the ironman American defender who played over 1,200 NHL games in eighteen seasons (all but 76 with the New York Rangers), became the first American player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, helping backstop the Rangers to his only Stanley Cup in 1994. In addition to his two Norris, Lester Patrick and Calder Trophies, the Texas-born and Massachusetts-raised Leetch helped propel American hockey to the top for the first time since the Miracle on Ice era at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, captaining Team USA to a stunning upset victory over Canada. Leetch would suit up at two World Junior, two World Championships, three Olympics and three Canada / World Cups between 1985-2004, winning Olympic Silver (2002) and World Junior Bronze (1986) to go along with his World Cup, and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
🇨🇦 Caroline Ouellette, one of the first two to join the unofficial women’s Triple Gold Club in 2009, had a prestigious pro career, winning an NCAA title with the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2003 and two Clarkson Cups in 2009 and 2011. But it was with Team Canada where she truly shone, holding one of the most decorated records in women’s hockey history. In her sixteen seasons on Team Canada, Ouellette captured four Olympic Gold (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), six World Championship (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2012) and nine Nations Cup (1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010) Gold Medals, winning another six World Championship and four Nations Cup Silver medals.
🇫🇷 Cristobal Huet, the first French player to ever have his name etched on the Stanley Cup, ended his 20 year international career in 2017 after the World Championship was hosted in Paris. Playing in the NHL (Los Angeles, Montréal, Washington, Chicago), French (Grenoble), Swiss (Lugano, Fribourg, Lausanne) and German (Mannheim) leagues, Huet captured a French championship in 1998, Swiss championship in 1999 and Stanley Cup in 2010, and was a member of Les Bleus at thirteen World Championships and two Olympics, helping France to the Top Division and making them a mainstay amongst the world’s best since the turn of the century.
🇬🇧 Jimmy Foster, a Glasgow-born goaltender who backstopped Great Britain in their heyday of the 1930’s, captured medals at all three World Championships he competed at, pairing Silvers in 1937 and 1938 with the shocking Gold captured at the 1936 Garmisch Olympics, which at the time doubled as the World Championship; Foster dominated opponents by only conceding 22 total goals and posting 16 shutouts, only losing five times in international play, three of which were to Canada. Foster, who played professionally in Canada, also captured consecutive Allan Cups in 1933-34 with the Moncton Hawks, and was named to the British Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950; he passed away in 1969.
Special mention also goes out to the other inductees this year – official Sandra Dombrowski (Switzerland) and builder Kalervo Kummola (Finland), Bibi Torriani Award winner Viktor Szélig (Hungary) and Paul Loicq Award winner Kimmo Leinonen (Finland).
Photo Credit: Aftonbladet – USA Hockey – L’Equipe – Duluth News Tribune – Hockey Archives – IIHF – HHOF – IOC