Classy winger Jarome Iginla, who wrapped up his impressive career by briefly playing for the Kings, leads the six-member Hockey Hall of Fame class that was announced Wednesday. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto, but that’s subject to change because of the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the NHL schedule and events.
Also elected in the players’ category were three-time Stanley Cup champion Marian Hossa; defenseman Kevin Lowe, who won six championships with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers; defenseman Doug Wilson, and three-time Olympic women’s hockey gold medalist Kim St-Pierre. Ken Holland, who guided the Detroit Red Wings to four Cup titles as their assistant general manager and general manager, was elected in the builders’ category.
Iginla, best known for his 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames, had 625 goals and 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season games over 22 seasons. He was a first-team All-Star selection three times and won the goal-scoring and scoring titles in 2001-02. He repeated as the goal-scoring champion in 2003-04. He also won two Olympic gold medals. Iginla, 42, was elected in his first year of eligibility.
“It’s very, very special,” said Iginla, who was born in Canada to an American-born mother and Nigerian father and was named Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla. “Later in my career I was definitely hopeful [of being elected]. Earlier in my career I was just trying to stay afloat.”
Iginla is the fourth Black player elected to the Hall, following former goaltender Grant Fuhr, women’s hockey standout Angela James, and Black hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree. Acquired by the Kings from Colorado on March 1, 2017, for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft, Iginla had six goals and nine points in 19 games. The Kings missed the playoffs that season.
Hossa, a native of Slovakia, played 19 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks and collected 525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 games. He was a member of the Blackhawks’ Cup-winning teams in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
Lowe was a member of the Oilers’ dynasty that won the Cup five times in seven seasons, and he added a sixth title with the Rangers. His teammates were flashy but he was steady, focusing on the defensive aspects of the game. “I think I perhaps represent the next level of guys who helped to win championships,” he told nhl.com. “I appreciate that my contributions to the teams I played on are being recognized in this way.”
Wilson, now the general manager of the San Jose Sharks, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 1982. He holds many Blackhawks team records for defensemen, including goals (225) and points (779). “I'm not even a Hall of Famer in my own house, so joining this club means the world to me,” he told nhl.com. “I would like to thank all of the people who have been so good to me in this game.”
St-Pierre was a goaltender who compiled a 1.17 goals-against average and .939 save percentage while playing for Canada. In addition to three Olympic gold medals she also won five women’s world championships. “When I was growing up it was only boys, and when that changed my dream was able to come [true],” she said. “I'm grateful and would like to thank all of my coaches and my family.”
Holland was a goaltender as a player but appeared in only four NHL games, spending the rest of his career in the minor leagues. He fared much better as an executive, using his scouting and managing abilities to build Red Wings teams that won the Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. “I am incredibly humbled by this honor,” he said. “I am in this game because I loved it as a young man and I am happy to have been able to stay in the game.”