The Hockey Hall of Fame announced their inductees for 2011, and as a non-hockey person I don’t have a particular issue with any of their choices.
They are: Centers Doug Gilmour and Joe Nieuwendyk, defenseman Mark Howe (Gordie’s son) and goalie Ed Belfour. All will be inducted at the Toronto ceremony this November 14th.
I had a chance to do some media work with Doug Gilmour one summer and really enjoyed hangin’ with him. Who doesn’t cheer for Dougie? Somehow to me he personifies Canadian hockey.
In hockey circles there has been much discussion about the passing over of Pavel Bure, the exciting superstar Russian goal scorer whose career was cut short by injury. If you read his career stats you wonder why he wasn’t picked, I’m sure one year he will be. Some have gone as far as to say that if he was Canadian, he would’ve been in already. Hmm? I wonder.
To me the biggest snub of all is coach Pat Burns. How is he not in the Hockey Hall of Fame right now? The selection committee is some secretive 18-member panel and the chair, Bill Hay, made a point of saying that whatever is discussed in the meeting room stays in the meeting room. What kind of secret club is this? Do they have secret decoder rings, passwords and assemble in some torch-lit cavernous hall 10 levels below the Hall of Fame. Do they drink blood? Is the first rule of Hockey Hall of Fame: You never talk about the Hockey Hall of Fame?
This is shameful. Pat Burns passed last November after battling several cancers. His bravery and demeanor during the illness was 2nd to none. He should’ve been picked last year while he was still alive. That was a snub. This year’s oversight is insult added to insult. Burns is the only coach to have won the NHL’s coach-of-the-year award 3 times. He won a Stanley Cup, he coached 3 different original 6 teams, plus the Devils. He’s 15th all time with 501 career victories. What do I know about hockey, but that’s Hall of Fame material to me.
I don’t suggest that fans get a Hall of Fame vote. I’m fine with “hockey experts” making these decisions. However this secretive panel can’t go on making bonehead omissions that aren’t in the best interest of hockey’s great history. THIS IS OUR GAME, stop screwing around. At the very least, be more open. Transparency required. Face your fans about your decisions. We pay the freight. We deserve answers.
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