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Chelios, Niedermayer, Shanahan elected to Hockey Hall of Fame; Shero finally gets call

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The Hockey Hall of Fame announced a five-person Class of 2013, as first-time candidates Chris Chelios and Scott Niedermayer joined holdover Brendan Shanahan as player inductees; Canadian women’s legend Geraldine Heaney; and Fred Shero, the legendary (and legendarily Hall of Fame snubbed) coach of the 1974-75 Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers.

Scott Niedermayer, Defenseman

(New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks)

From the Hall:

Scott Niedermayer grew up in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and was a member of the Kamloops Blazers 1992 Memorial Cup championship team. Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round (3rd overall selection), he went on to play 13 seasons with the Devils from 1991 to 2004, winning Stanley Cups in the 1995, 2000 and 2003 seasons. In 2005, he signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks where he was a two-time first team All-Star during his six seasons, as well as being a key part of their 2007 Stanley Cup winning team. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP that season. On the international front, Scott also won gold at the World Junior Championship in 1991, gold at the World Championship in 2004, and gold at two Olympic Games in 2002 and 2010.

The smooth-skating defenseman joins former blue-line mate Scott Stevens as representatives of the Devils' defensive stranglehold on the NHL for a 13-year span.

Chris Chelios, Defenseman

(Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta Thrashers)

From the Hall:

Chris Chelios, a native of Chicago, Illinois, after two successful seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers (1981-83), joined the Montreal Canadiens and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 1984-85 and was also runner-up as Rookie of the Year to Mario Lemieux. He was part of the 1986 Canadiens’ Stanley Cup winning team and won the James Norris Trophy as Defenceman of the Year in 1988-89. Traded to Chicago in 1990, Chris went on to play nine season with the Blackhawks and was a five time first or second team All-Star and two-time Norris winner. Chelios continued his career in 1999 with the Detroit Red Wings, winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. He finished his 26 year playing career at the age of 48 with the Atlanta Thrashers and Chicago Wolves in 2009-10.

The definition of "warrior" on the ice, his training prowess and dedication to the game were legendary.

Brendan Shanahan, Winger

(New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers)

From the Hall:

Brendan Shanahan was born in Etobicoke, Ontario and after two seasons with the London Knights (OHL) was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round (2nd overall) in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. A member of the New Jersey Devils for four seasons, Brendan was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Blues in 1991. He player four seasons with the Blues and had back to back 50 goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94 – being named a 1st team NHL All-Star in 1993-94. Brendan went on to play two seasons in Hartford before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 1996, where he played nine seasons winning the Stanley Cup on three occasions (1997, 1998 and 2002). Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the New York Rangers, he played two more seasons before retiring in 2008. Representing Canada internationally on numerous occasions, he was a member of Canada’s 2002 gold medal winning team.

Shanahan might have had to wait in first-year ballot jail for a year, one assumes because of his role in the NHL's Dept. of Player Safety. But he was a prototypical power forward and a key player on those Red Wins championship teams. Along with Niedermayer and Slava Fetisov, the only Devils draft picks to make the Hall.

Geraldine Heaney, Defense/Coach

From the Hall:

Gerladine Heaney was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and grew up playing hockey in Toronto Aeros – an association she would remain with for 18 seasons. As a member of Canada’s national team she won seven IIHF World Championship gold medals and was named the IIHF World Women’s Championship’s Best Defenceman in 1992 and 1994. A member of Canada’s 2002 gold medal Olympic team, Heaney also won silver in 1998.

She becomes the third woman to be elected as a player.

Fred “The Fog” Shero, Coach

(Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers)

From the Hall:

In the Builder Category, Fred Shero was elected. Shero began his coaching career in 1959-60 with the St. Paul Saints, and progressed up the ranks with a career culminating in nine seasons in the National Hockey League. His Philadelphia Flyers won Stanley Cups in 1973-74 and 1975-76, and he also took the New York Rangers to the final in 1979, where he also had the role of General Manager. In 734 NHL regular season games coached, his teams had 390 wins, 225 losses and 119 ties. Shero passed away on November 24th, 1990.

As has been noted numerous times, Fred Shero was a huge snub for the Hall of Fame until this year.

Among the snubs for his class were Rob Blake, the veteran defenseman who some felt could round out this class in his first year of eligibility; Eric Lindros, whose short span of dominance in the NHL during an injury-plagued career remains a point of controversy; and Jeremy Roenick, one of the best American-born players in NHL history but one that never won a championship or a major award in the NHL.

And of course legendary three-time coach of the year Pat Burns, whose absence from the Hall renders much of this pointless.

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