Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – The ongoing NHL lockout has stolen some of the spotlight from four outstanding players who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Nov. 12 in Toronto.
Instead of just speaking about achievements during their playing career, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates were forced to speak their mind about the labor debacle, which is approaching its third month.
“This is a great celebration for hockey, but as a player, and more importantly as a fan, we’d all like to see hockey back as soon as possible,” said Sundin, a former Toronto Maple Leafs captain.
Sundin was traded to the Leafs as the NHL went into a work stoppage in 1994 and he didn’t make his Toronto debut until January 1995.
“I’ve been part of a cancelled season,” Sundin said. “The NHL is the driving force of hockey in the world. We need it back to keep building this game around the world.”
Oates has also been affected by the lockout as his coaching debut with the Washington Capitals is on hold while team owners and players try to reach a new labor deal
“I think we’re fine as coaches, we’ve been preparing for a while now . . . There will be a short window for the players, and I think it will be harder on them,” Oates said.
“It’s obviously tragic, a work stoppage is tough for all walks of life . . . auto workers, carpenters, you name it. I hope they figure it out soon for all of us,” he added.
The Hockey Hall of Fame has announced Tuesday that the 18-member selection committee voted for Sakic, Sundin, Bure and Oates to make up the Class of 2012. They will officially become honored members of the Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Nov. 12 in Toronto.
Sakic has won every possible award in a 20-year playing career in the NHL, including the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001, the Hart Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2002, when he was also named the tournament’s MVP.
He played his entire career with the Quebec/Colorado franchise and registered 1,641 points on 625 goals and 1,016 assists — all are franchise records.
Sundin played 13 seasons in Toronto and was the Leafs’ captain from 1997-2008. He holds franchise records for most goals (420), assists by a forward (567) and total points (987). He finished his career with 564 goals and 785 assists for 1,349 points in 1,346 games.
In his 19-year NHL career, Oates is sixth all-time in the NHL in assists with 1,079. He added 341 goals for 1,420 points in 1,337 games combined with Detroit, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton from 1985-2004.
Bure, who played just 12 seasons due to chronic knee problems, scored 779 points in 702 games. He averaged 36.7 goals per season.