The IIHF Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place in Copenhagen on the final day of the World Championship on 20 May 2018.
New legends added to the ranks
The Historical Committee has voted to induct into its Hall of Fame four Players and two Builders, all of whom have shown great leadership over long careers.
Inducted as Players are Daniel Alfredsson, Rob Blake, Chris Chelios, and Jere Lehtinen. The two Builders are Philippe Lacarriere and Bob Nadin. As well, Jesper Damgaard will receive the Richard “Bibi” Torriani Award and Kirovs Lipmans will get the Paul Loicq Award.
The induction ceremony will take place in Copenhagen during the final weekend of next year’s 2018 World Championship in Denmark.
“This is our 22nd year of inducting those who have given so much to the game, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more deserving group of Players and Builders,” said IIHF president Rene Fasel, who just recently finished contacting each inductee by phone to give them the good news.
Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson was the very embodiment of sportsman and competitor. In a career that spanned two decades, number 11 was a superstar both for Tre Kronor at the highest level of international play and for the Ottawa Senators in the NHL.
In all, “Alfie” played in five Olympics, including the historic team of 2006 which won gold. Additionally, he played in seven World Championships, winning four medals (two silver, two bronze) as well as the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
In the NHL, he captained the Senators for 14 years and played 1,246 regular-season games. He led the Sens to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007, the best year in the team’s modern history.
Blake, a member of the IIHF’s famed Triple Gold Club, was part of his own history for Canada. He, too, had careers both internationally and in the NHL that were the equal of few. In his case, he was part of Team Canada’s 2002 gold-medal team in Salt Lake, erasing half a century of frustration for the nation.
He had earlier won two gold medals at the World Championship, in 1994 and 1997. Blake also played in the finals of the 1996 World Cup, and he joined the Triple Gold Club in 2001 when he led the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup championship.
A tough and skilled defenceman, Blake played in the NHL for 20 years and was captain three separate times (twice in Los Angeles and once with the Avs). The Kings retired his number 4 in 2015 for his outstanding career.
Another defenceman who had success in so many ways, Chris Chelios was the face of USA Hockey for a quarter of a century. His first tournament for his country was the 1982 World Juniors, and the last was in 2006 at the Turin Olympics. In between, he played in the NHL for 26 years, tying Gordie Howe for most seasons, and his 266 playoff games in the most by any player in the league’s history.
Although he won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, surely the crowning glory of his career came with Team USA, when it defeated Canada in the third and final game of the 1996 World Cup finals. The win can be put alongside the 1960 Olympic gold medal and the “Miracle on Ice” team of 1980 as the three greatest triumphs in the nation’s history.
The fourth Player this year is Finland’s Jere Lehtinen. A leader, defensive stalwart, and offensive threat, he might well be the best all-around player Suomi has ever produced. He made a name for himself before joining the NHL when he, Saku Koivu, and Ville Pentonen—nicknamed “Tupu, Hupu, Lupu”—led Finland to its first ever gold-medal at the World Championship, in 1995. The win immortalized the line and worked as a springboard to greater success for all three.
In Lehtinen’s case, that meant joining the Dallas Stars, for whom he won a Stanley Cup, in 1999. He played all 14 of his NHL years with the Stars, and just two weeks ago the team retired his number 26.
Lehtinen continued to play for Finland when he could. That included an incredible five Olympics (one silver, three bronze), four World Championships (gold, three silver), three World Juniors, and two World Cup of Hockey tournaments (runner-up in 2004).
Philippe Lacarriere played hockey for some two decades and then stayed in the game as an executive for the next 45 years. The son of Honoured Member Jacques Lacarriere, the two are the only father-son combination inducted both as Builders. Lacarriere has worked tirelessly for the French Federation and has served on IIHF Council and many IIHF committees.
Bob Nadin is making history of his own. The former Paul Loicq Award winner becomes the first person so honoured also to be inducted as a Builder. After retiring as a referee, he has devoted his life to international hockey and the improvement of both the rules and referees’ interpretations of them.
Denmark’s Jesper Damgaard is the fitting recipient of this year’s Torriani Award. He played in 17 consecutive World Championships and was part of the first generation of players who took the team out of the second tier of play and into the top level, in 2003, where it has played ever since.
Latvia’s Kirovs Lipmans will receive the Loicq Award for his outstanding service to the game, both within the IIHF family and at home with the Latvian federation and its program of development.
b. Gothenburg, Sweden, December 11, 1972
Numbers, like faces, go with names. They make the names easier to remember. And surely when most people in hockey think of number 11, they see Daniel Alfredsson, skating with Tre Kronor in IIHF events or with the Ottawa Senators in the NHL.
Alfredsson is arguably the greatest player developed by the legendary Frolunda team in Sweden, but his impressive play as a teenager at home caused barely a ripple in the eyes of NHL general managers. Indeed, he was never selected to play for Sweden’s World Junior team either.
Scout John Ferguson of Ottawa, however, convinced the Senators to draft young “Alfie.” Incredibly, he was but the 133rd selection in 1993, and he opted to return to Frolunda for one more season.
When he came to Canada in 1994, he was a year older and physically stronger and wasted no time in rewarding Ottawa’s faith in him. Alfredsson had 26 goals and 61 points as a rookie and won the Calder Trophy. The team missed the playoffs, but Alfredsson played for Tre Kronor for the first time, at the World Championship, helping his team to a silver medal in Stockholm. He scored the overtime winner, his second goal of the game, against Canada in a 3-2 semi-finals win to take Sweden to that gold-medal game.
Alfredsson improved to 71 points in his second year with the Senators and played at both the World Championship and World Cup in 1996. He then ran into injury problems before developing into a bona fide superstar in the NHL. At the height of his powers, he was a great skater who could score and pass with equal skill, and he was a natural leader whose sportsmanship was second only to his competitive fire. It was no surprise that he was named team captain in 1999, and he wore the “C” for the next 14 years, becoming the heart and soul and face of the team for a generation.
A consistent performer throughout his career, Alfredsson reached the zenith of success in the middle years of the first decade of the 21st century. In 2005-06, he set personal records with 43 goals, 60 assists, and 103 total points in the NHL’s regular season, and midway through the year he was part of Sweden’s historic gold-medal team at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Alfredsson had three assists in the team’s 6-2 win over Switzerland in the quarter-finals and a goal and an assist in the 7-3 win over the Czechs in the semis.
A year later, he took the Senators to the team’s first—and still only—trip to the Stanley Cup finals, losing to Anaheim in five games. Incredibly, each member on his line—himself, Jason Spezza, and Dany Heatley—tied for the playoff lead in scoring with 22 points.
In all, Alfredsson’s record speaks for itself. Both in length and achievement, few players in the game’s history have accomplished as much. In Alfie’s case, that means five Olympics (gold, silver), two World Cups, and seven World Championships (two silver, two bronze).
In the NHL, his 1,157 career points in 1,246 regular-season games go with 124 playoff games. He missed the playoffs only three times in 18 years, and the Sens retired his familiar number 11 when all was said and done.
b. Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, December 10, 1969
When Canada defeated the United States, 5-2, to win gold at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, it not only gave the nation its first gold in half a century, it also allowed the IIHF to add three new names to its hallowed Triple Gold Club—forwards Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan, and defenceman Rob Blake.
Blake had started his TGC quest with a gold at the 1994 World Championship, another historic win for Canada in that its previous gold was back in 1961. In between the two international championships, Blake led the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2001, crowning glory to an NHL career which was every bit as illustrious as the one he forged with Team Canada.
Blake’s path to greatness was atypical for a Canadian defenceman in that it started at Bowling Green, a CCHA team in U.S. college. After his first year he was drafted 70th overall by the Los Angeles Kings, in 1988, a clear indication that he was a promising prospect but not headed to the NHL right away. Two more years with the Falcons, though, and Blake turned into that rarity among blueliners—a large and physical defenceman with plenty of offensive skill and an ability to lead.
In truth, Blake was a captain four separate times in his career. He wore the “C” for Canada at the 1999 World Championships as well as twice with the Kings and late in his career with San Jose.
Blake didn’t take long to make an impact with Los Angeles. He joined the team for the final few games of the 1989-90 season, and three years later the Kings were in their first Stanley Cup finals, losing to Montreal in six tight games.
When Wayne Gretzky was traded to St. Louis at the deadline in early 1996, it was Blake who assumed the captaincy after 99’s departure. Blake wore the “C” for the next five years before he, too, was traded, to Colorado, in February 2001. Midway through his tenure, in 1997-98, he played in his first Olympics, in Nagano, and at season’s end he was named winner of the James Norris Trophy in the NHL.
Arriving to a team on the cusp of greatness, Blake proved to be the missing ingredient to ultimate success for the Avs. A veteran, a composed leader, a stud on the blue line who could play half a game or more, he helped the team to its first Cup win in 2001, just a few months after joining the team.
In all, Blake played 20 years in the NHL, more than 13 with L.A., and he retired in 2010 with 1,270 regular-season games to his credit. But his dedication to Team Canada is what set him apart during his career. Most years he was available for the World Championships, he accepted the invitation, and he represented his country with pride and, of course, success. In all, he played in five World Championships, three Olympics, and the 1996 World Cup. In addition to the aforementioned gold medals in 1994 and 2002, he also won gold at the 1997 Worlds during which he was named IIHF Directorate Award winner as Best Defenceman.
A pillar of strength on the blue line, Rob Blake epitomized victory, for Team Canada and for his NHL teams, for some two decades.
b. Chicago, Illinois, United States, January 25, 1962
Longevity is never impressive only for the sake of age, but when a player maintains world-class ability through his thirties and well into his forties, he becomes a truly special player, indeed.
Chris Chelios may have played his final international game for the United States at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, but what was extraordinary was that he had made his first IIHF appearance some 24 years earlier, at the 1982 World Junior Championship.
And make no mistake—with a medal-contending team in Italy, USA Hockey did not give Chelios a free pass to play in what was his fourth Olympics (the first coming in 1984). He was there because even at age 44 there were no finer defencemen in the American program with a younger birth certificate.
Equally amazing, almost all of Chelios’s career with the national team came at the Olympics and Canada Cup/World Cup. He played in only one World Championship, that in 1994 in Italy. Why? Because during his extraordinary 26-year career in the NHL, his club teams missed the playoffs exactly twice. As a result, among his many great accomplishments, Chelios played in 266 Stanley Cup playoff games, the most by any player, any era, any position, in the 100 years of NHL hockey.
Chelios was a little bit of everything. Check that—he was a lot of everything. A tough, hard-nosed defenceman, he had offensive power and the ability to raise his game when it mattered most. Among those 266 playoff games were three Stanley Cup wins. Further testament to his longevity is easily found in the fact that his first Cup came in 1986 with the upstart Montreal Canadiens and his last 22 years later, with Detroit (his other Cup also came with the Red Wings, in 2002).
But surely the crowning glory of his career came in Montreal in 1996, several years after he had left the Habs to play for his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. That September he helped the United States topple Canada in the final game of the World Cup. It gave the nation its third greatest championship, following gold at the 1960 Olympics and the 1980 Miracle on Ice.
Chelios was captain of the U.S. Olympic team in 1998, 2002, and his finale in 2006, as well as at the 2004 World Cup. But while he was a mainstay on world-class teams in the late 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, he was also part of the developing American teams at the 1984, 1987, and 1991 Canada Cups.
Consider that when Chelios was a young player, he was one of very few superstars from his country. He grew as the nation grew, indicative of the team’s advancing to the 1991 Canada Cup final before winning it all five years later. By the time he retired, the U.S. could count itself among the great hockey nations on a regular basis.
In all, Chelios played 26 seasons in the NHL, a number matched only by Gordie Howe, but it was his international career which spanned so long and included so much success for which he will be equally remembered, at home and across the world.
b. Paris, France, April 20, 1938
With his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame this year, Philippe Lacarriere joins his father in international hockey’s eternal memory. They join Kalevi and Teppo Numminen as the only father-son inductees, and the Lacarrieres are the only ones both inducted as Builders.
As was the case with Jacques, Philippe’s contributions to the game focus on France and, additionally, his work with the IIHF. He has been an ambassador of the greatest distinction for both French hockey and the IIHF for more than half a century, both on ice and off.
Philippe played international hockey throughout the 1960s, appearing in the World Championship in 1962 and 1963 (B Pool), and 1961 and 1967 (C Pool). Most of the time he centred a high-scoring line with wingers Alain Bozon and Jean-Claude Guennelon. Lacarriere also played at the 1968 Olympics on home ice, in Grenoble. He was captain of the national team from 1965 to 1967 and represented France 68 times as a player.
Although he was a forward for much of his career, Lacarriere moved back to defence in later years, even earning the IIHF Directorate Award as Best Defenceman at the 1967 Worlds. He played for several preeminent teams in France’s domestic leagues including the Racing Club of France, PUC (Paris Universite Club), Paris Hockey Club, and Francais Volants.
Lacarriere started with the PUC in 1953 but two years later joined the Paris Hockey Club. However, it was as a member of the ACBB (Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt) that he achieved his greatest glory. He won the Spengler Cup in 1959 with the team, captaining ACBB at age 21 to victory in Davos. A year later, he led ACBB to the French championship as well as another Spengler Cup victory.
In 1972, his playing career coming to a close, he founded the Olympic Club of Courbevoie, playing a final year before retiring at age 44. Thereafter, he remained club president before becoming vice-president of the hockey committee of the Federation Francaise des Sports de Glace, precursor to the modern French hockey federation (FFHG).
In 1992, when the Olympic Winter Games came to Albertville, France, Lacarriere was named head of the hockey tournament for the organizing committee, his expertise respected by everyone in France and, by extension, the IOC.
Additionally, he was a member of the IIHF’s Disciplinary Committee from 1990 to 1994, and at the end of that term Lacarriere was named to the IIHF Council, a position he held for two terms over nine years.
Like his father, he was also a longtime president of the CNHG (Comite national de hockey sur glace). In Philippe’s case, that tenure lasted from 1972 to 1998.
In 2011, Philippe was inducted into the FFHG (Federation Francaise de hockey sur glace) Hall of Fame. He also sat on the FFHG’s executive board for many years. In 2017, Lacarriere was part of the Paris Organizing Committee for the World Championship, his contributions to the game enduring long past what anyone might be expected to make.
b. Espoo, Finland, June 24, 1973
Take Bob Gainey, Temmu Selanne, and Mike Modano, toss the names into a blender and out comes Jere Lehtinen.
Lehtinen was a little bit of Gainey because both were premier two-way forwards.
Lehtinen was a little bit of Selanne because both are among a group of only six players to have won four medals at the Olympics.
And, Lehtinen is a little bit of Mike Modano because both played their entire careers with the Dallas Stars organization.
Lehtinen was drafted 88th overall in 1992 by then Minnesota North Stars, but by the time he made his NHL debut three years later the team had moved to Dallas, where it has been ever since.
Lehtinen was in no hurry to rush to the NHL. He played in three straight U20 championships (1991-93) and in 1994 was part of Finland’s 4-0 win over Russia to claim bronze at the Olympics in Lillehammer.
Lehtinen also had two successful years with TPS Turku in the national league, playing on a line with Saku Koivu. The pair led their team to a national championship in the spring of 1995, and a few weeks later they played on a line with Ville Peltonen at the World Championship.
The threesome was dubbed “Tupu, Hupu, Lupu” and led Suomi to an historic 4-1 win over Sweden to win the nation’s first ever gold. All three players were named to the tournament all-star team after contributing to all goals in the final victory.
At this point, Lehtinen was ready to try his hand in North America, and it took him no time to establish himself as a right winger who could create offence but, as important, stymie the best players from the other team.
After helping Finland beat Canada to win a second straight Olympic bronze, in 1998, Lehtinen developed into a superstar in the NHL. He had a career-high 52 points in 1998-99 and won his first of three Selke Trophies as the league’s best defensive forward. A year later, he assisted on Brett Hull’s overtime goal to give Dallas its first Stanley Cup.
Internationally, Lehtinen continued an incredible career, playing at the Salt Lake Olympics and then helping Finland to the finals of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. With victories in 1995 at the Worlds and 1999 in Dallas, he became the closest Finn ever to join the Triple Gold Club when he came within a goal of winning Olympic gold in 2006.
Instead, Suomi had to settle for silver after a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to Sweden. He made history four years later, though, by winning a fourth Olympic medal, this a bronze in Vancouver. Only countrymen Selanne, Koivu, Timonen, and Ville Peltonen, as well as Vladislav Tretiak, Igor Kravchuk and Jiri Holik have won as many.
In all, Lehtinen played 14 years with the Stars, and after retiring in 2010 he received the ultimate team honour when the Stars retired his number 26 seven years later. Internationally, he joins the IIHF’s pantheon of greats for a career with Suomi that has few to compare.
b. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 15, 1933
With the induction of Bob Nadin into the Builders category, the longtime referee and supervisor has made IIHF history. He is the only former recipient of the Paul Loicq Award to receive further recognition with a full induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame—and for good reason.
Like any Canadian boy, he started skating at a young age and played in various city leagues as he got older. He continued to play when he attended the University of Toronto, but his love for the whistle was greater than his abilities as a player. Nadin had started reffing at age 17 and moved up the ladder, as it were, first at the U of T when he played inter-faculty hockey and was asked to referee.
To state the obvious, he later reminisced that he, “got more pleasure from refereeing than from playing.”
A legend of the whistle was born.
Nadin, the Paul Loicq Award winner in 2007, reached the height of his refereeing career at the international level in Sapporo at the 1972 Olympics. He officiated seven games that year.
He quickly moved to the Ontario Hockey Association and then on to the CAHA (Canadian Amateur Hockey Association), precursor to today’s Hockey Canada. He hung up the whistle and was the CAHA’s referee-in-chief from 1976-86 during which time he created the referee certification program and wrote casebooks to enhance on-ice officials’ knowledge of the game and how to interpret it.
During this time Nadin padded his resume, working also as referee supervisor for the OHA and the OUA (Ontario University Association). In 1984, the OHA awarded Nadin the Gold Stick for his contributions to the game.
From 1992 to 1996, Nadin was a supervisor for the NHL. He selected referees for the 1998 Olympics, the first Games to feature NHL players. Of course, it was only a matter of time before his work led him to the IIHF, and he was part of the Federation’s Rules and Referee Committee for some three decades, travelling the world over supporting, analysing, and assisting officiating crews at every level of the international game.
His work with the IIHF is both similar to, and radically different from, his work in Canada. Whereas the CAHA, OHA, OUA, or NHL is one body for one level of play, the IIHF has dozens of members operating under immensely different skill levels, but the standards of officiating and interpretations of the rules have to be uniform. It’s a momentous task, one Nadin has embraced, and conquered, like no other.
In 2013, at the World Championship in Sweden, Nadin was presented with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal from the Olympic Committee, one of the highest honours a non-athlete can receive.
Away from the rink, Nadin’s story is equally incredible. His love of the game – combined with the amazing mileage he has logged over the decades and his childhood relationship with his father – has produced one of the greatest hockey stamp collections in the world.
At this rate, the stamp the hockey world might covet the most will be one with his face and name on it. He has done that much for the game.
Bibi Torriani Award
b. Holstebro, Denmark, May 6, 1975
The importance of a player to his country cannot always be gauged by medals and laurels. Sometimes contributions are more significant in other ways, especially among countries which can’t reasonably expect to finish in the top three in any particular event.
For Denmark, the name Jesper Damgaard towers over all others. Not only did the defenceman play in 17 consecutive World Championships, he was a major contributor to the team leaving the lower divisions in 2002 and joining the top 16 teams in 2003, a ranking it has held ever since.
Symbolically, no game was more important than the night of May 2, 2003, when Damgaard captained the Danes to a stunning 2-2 tie with Canada. The last time these teams had played—the last time Denmark was in the top pool—was in 1949, and Canada won that game by an all-time high score of 47-0.
That 2-2 result was no fluke, and Denmark has proved far more resilient than many had thought 10 or 15 years ago. Damgaard played his first games for his country in IIHF events at the U20, in the three-year period 1993-95, when the team was in C Pool. He also made his senior World Championship debut in 1994 in B Pool, and after nearly a decade of trying the Danes finally made it to the top division of the World Championship in 2003.
Damgaard was named national team captain in 1999, while the team was still in B Pool, and he was captain every year thereafter excepting 2006. His eleven years wearing the “C” makes his tenure as leader one of the longest in IIHF history. A smooth skater, he was able to control play and maintain composure during the most pressure of situations.
In all, he played for his country more than any other Dane and is the only player from his country to have his number (#7) retired by the federation. Although he had to retire at age 35 because of concussion problems, Damgaard left the game as a leader, an inspirational figure who brought a world-class level of respectability to his team, and a player who has inspired the next generation of Danes to reach higher. Of that one can ask no more of any player, from any country.
Paul Loicq Award
b. Liepaja, Soviet Union (Latvia), November 5, 1940
From the time Latvia achieved its independence in 1993 until 2016, the new Latvian Ice Hockey Federation had only one president—Kirovs Lipmans. Under his direction the team went from C Pool in 1993 to B Pool the next year to A Pool in 1997,
a ranking they have maintained ever since.
Equally impressive, Latvia has participated in the last four Olympic Winter Games, from 2002 to 2014.
In addition, Latvia joined the U20 and U18 tournaments on the men’s side and the Women’s World Championship as well, establishing an impressively diverse and successful program at all levels thanks to Lipmans’ tenacity and vision.
These results are rewards for grassroots development greatly encouraged by Lipmans, who has overseen the construction of many arenas across the small nation. Today, Latvia boasts 19 ice rinks and some 7,000 registered players, numbers that tower over what Lipmans saw when he became president of the federation two decades ago.
Along the way, the Latvians have developed several world-class players, sending most on to the NHL over the last 20 years. Part and parcel with this greater success was Lipmans’ tenacity in getting the Dynamo Riga team back in the KHL so that players from the small country could develop in Europe’s most-skilled league.
But perhaps as a nation there was no prouder moment for Lipmans than in 2006 when Riga hosted the World Championship for the first time. More than 331,000 fans attended the 56 games at the two main arenas in Riga, and the success of that event has led to the awarding of the 2021 World Championship to Riga (and Minsk).
Lipmans was also very active within the IIHF family, notably as a delegate at Congress and within several committees. Overall, his contributions were recognized by his government, which, on April 12, 2001, awarded him the Order of the Three Stars (4th Class), the highest honour a Latvian can receive.