Hockey Faces on Hall of Fame Night

By HOWARD BERGER

 

TORONTO (Nov. 14) – I felt rather vibrant during the prelude to Monday night’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony, yet my life still flashed before my eyes. Or so it seemed.

 

With the ubiquitous red carpet laid out in the foyer of the Yonge-Wellington Centre, players, executives and coaches from every era of my nearly-53 years walked past into the Hall. So many had connections to the Maple Leafs… from childhood heroes Johnny BowerAndy BathgateRed Kelly and Marcel Pronovost; to those I cheered for as a teenager from Sec. 30 of the South Mezzanine Blues in Maple Leaf Gardens (Borje SalmingLanny McDonald), to a number of the players I covered during my years at The Fan-590 (Curtis JosephGary RobertsMike GartnerTodd WarrinerMathieu SchneiderJeff O’Neill)… they all made their way along the red carpet and paused to say hello.

 

Of course, three others that skated for the Blue & White during my radio years were inducted into the Hall of Fame: Doug GilmourJoe Nieuwendyk and Ed Belfour. The fourth inductee – Mark Howe – was a junior star here in town with the Toronto Marlboros, helping the club to the 1973 Memorial Cup.

 

Through the lens of my camera, please enjoy these images of hockey heroes from the past…

 

 

THE HALL OF FAME WAS BRILLIANTLY ILLUMINATED AND DECORATED MONDAY NIGHT FOR INDUCTEES MARK HOWE, ED BELFOUR, JOE NIEUWENDYK AND DOUG GILMOUR.

 

 

IF I DIDN’T KNOW THIS WAS BORJE SALMING (ABOVE), I’D HAVE SWORN THAT ROGER DALTRY WAS IN TOWN FOR THE INDUCTION CEREMONY.

 

 

LANNY McDONALD DOESN’T BOTHER GROWING A”MOVEMBER” MOUSTACHE – HE HAS THE JANUARY-TO-DECEMBER VERSION (ABOVE AND BELOW). McDONALD AND SALMING, OF COURSE, WERE MAINSTAYS OF THE GOOD MAPLE LEAF TEAMS IN THE MID-TO-LATE-’70s.

 

 

 

 

HALL-OF-FAME DEFENSEMAN RED KELLY (ABOVE) WAS A KEY FIGURE ON THE LEAFS LAST STANLEY CUP TEAM (FOR WHICH HE PLAYED CENTRE). HE LATER COACHED SALMING AND McDONALD FOR FOUR SEASONS, WHICH INCLUDED THOSE LEGENDARY PLAYOFF BATTLES WITH PHILADELPHIA (REMEMBER “PYRAMID POWER?”). THE KING-PIN OF THE FLYERS – CAPTAIN BOBBY CLARKE (BELOW) – NEVER GAVE AN INCH, AND HAD SOME TERRIFIC INDIVIDUAL QUARRELS WITH LEAFS’ CAPTAIN DARRYL SITTLER.

 

 

 

 

SPEAKING OF COMBATIVE PLAYERS AND COACHES, HOW ABOUT THE DAPPER PAT QUINN (ABOVE) AND HIS STALWART WINGER ON THE LEAFS OF THE EARLY-2000’s, GARY ROBERTS (BELOW)? QUINN WAS ILL WITH AN IRREGULAR HEART-BEAT, BUT ROBERTS WAS A MAN POSSESSED, DURING THE 2002 PLAYOFFS – THE LAST TIME THE LEAFS ADVANCED TO THE CONFERENCE FINAL, BOWING TO CAROLINA.

 

 

 

 

FORMER PLAYER AND COACH SHARE A LAUGH (ABOVE) PRIOR TO ATTENDING THE HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY.

 

 

PAT QUINN LATER JOINED THE TSN “THAT’S HOCKEY” CREW OF HOST GINO REDA (LEFT) AND ANALYST/INSIDER BOB McKENZIE.

 

 

CUJO HAD THE “5 O’CLOCK SHADOW” GOING WHILE BEING INTERVIEWED LIVE ON TSN RADIO (ABOVE), AND THEN POSING FOR HIS FAVORITE REPORTER (BELOW). THE EX-LEAF GOALIE WAS INVITED TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY BY GILMOUR – WE ASSUME OUT OF FRIENDSHIP RATHER THAN PITY FOR THAT DIPSY-DOODLE OVERTIME GOAL FROM BEHIND THE NET IN THE 1993 LEAFS-ST. LOUIS PLAYOFF SERIES.

 

 

 

 

ALSO ON HAND WERE TWO OF THE SIX PLAYERS IN NHL HISTORY TO SCORE MORE THAN 700 CAREER GOALS: MIKE GARTNER (ABOVE) AND MARCEL DIONNE (BELOW). WAYNE GRETZKY, GORDIE HOWE, BRETT HULL AND PHIL ESPOSITO ARE THE OTHERS.

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK RANGERS GM GLEN SATHER (ABOVE) – ARCHITECT AND COACH OF THE GREAT EDMONTON TEAMS IN THE 1980s – STILL HAS THAT INCREDULOUS LOOK WHEN TALKING WITH UNFAMILIAR MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA.

 

 

CLIFF FLETCHER ALWAYS HAS TIME AND GRACIOUSNESS FOR REPORTERS… CHATTING ABOVE WITH KEVIN McGRAN OF THE TORONTO STAR.

 

 

TWO OF HOCKEY’S GREATEST FORWARDS IN THE 1980s: BRYAN TROTTIER (ABOVE) OF THE FOUR-TIME STANLEY CUP CHAMPION NEW YORK ISLANDERS AND PETER STASTNY (BELOW) OF THE OLD QUEBEC NORDIQUES. THEY REGISTERED A COMBINED 2,664 POINTS IN THE NHL.

 

 

 

 

FORWARD RON DUGUAY (ABOVE AND BELOW) WAS A HEART-THROB WITH THE NEW YORK RANGERS IN THE LATE-’70s AND STILL LOOKS PRETTY GOOD AT 54.

 

 

 

 

A COUPLE OF BROADCASTING LEGENDS WERE IN THE HOUSE: BOB COLE (ABOVE) – STILL GOING STRONG WITH HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, AND BRIAN McFARLANE (BELOW), WHO CALLED LEAF GAMES ON TV WITH BILL HEWITT IN THE ’60s AND ’70s.

 

 

 

 

NASHVILLE PREDATORS GM DAVID POILE (ABOVE) TELLS ME HE’S READY FOR THE BI-ANNUAL INVASION OF HOCKEY MEDIA FROM TORONTO (MYSELF INCLUDED), AS THE MAPLE LEAFS VISIT MUSIC CITY USA ON THURSDAY NIGHT.

 

 

FORMER HABS GREAT BOB GAINEY (ABOVE) SPEAKS WITH A REPORTER.

 

 

MANY OF THE GAME’S TRUE LEGENDS – THE REAL OLD-TIMERS – WERE ON HAND AT THE HALL, INCLUDING TED LINDSAY (ABOVE): GORDIE HOWE’S FEARLESS LINE-MATE WITH THE DYNASTIC RED WINGS OF THE 1950s. WALKING WITH A CANE (BELOW) BUT STILL SHOWING THE SPIRIT THAT MADE HIM A TERRIFIC GOAL-SCORER WITH THE RANGERS AND LEAFS IS ANDY BATHGATE, WHO TURNS 80 IN AUGUST.

 

 

 

 

THE SMILIN’ CHAP ABOVE NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION AROUND HERE… JOHNNY BOWER JUST HIT 87 YEARS OF AGE. A TEAMMATE OF BOWER’S ON THE 1967 STANLEY CUP LEAFS – AND A DEFENSIVE STALWART THROUGHOUT THE PLAYOFFS THAT SPRING – WAS MARCEL PRONOVOST (BELOW), A 1978 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE.

 

 

 

 

JUNIOR HOCKEY FANS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA WILL INSTANTLY RECOGNIZE THE KILLER – BRIAN KILREA (ABOVE) – WHO COACHED THE OTTAWA 67s FOR MORE YEARS THAN HE PROBABLY CARES TO ADMIT. BRIAN ALSO HOLDS THE DISTINCTION OF SCORING THE FIRST-EVER GOAL FOR THE LOS ANGELES KINGS – AT THE LONG BEACH (CALIF.) ARENA AGAINST PHILADELPHIA ON OCT. 14, 1967.

 

 

AFTER A LONG AND GENERALLY GOOD NHL CAREER, MATHIEU SCHNEIDER (ABOVE) RETIRED AND LOST 10 YEARS OF AGE FROM HIS APPEARANCE. “THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE BODY HEALS UP”, HE LAUGHED ON MONDAY.

 

 

FORMER LEAF JEFF O’NEILL SNEARS (ABOVE) WHILE TALKING WITH CURRENT NHL DISCIPLINARIAN BRENDAN SHANAHAN. WE’RE STILL CHECKING INTO THE RUMOR THAT JEFF BOUGHT A HALL OF FAME CEREMONY TICKET OFF A SCALPER.

 

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