Two CHL graduates that went on to lengthy and successful NHL careers were inducted into The Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this month on November 13th.
Former Oshawa Generals forward Dave Andreychuk and Kamloops Blazers graduate Mark Recchi joined other former NHL players in Anaheim Ducks teammates Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne as well as seven-time Canadian National Women’s Team gold medalist Danielle Goyette as inductees in the Player Category. University of Alberta Golden Bears coaching legend Clare Drake joined Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs as inductees in the Builder Category.
A native of Hamilton, Ont., Andreychuk played 23 NHL seasons, hoisting the Stanley Cup as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. The big 6-foot-4 winger ended his career ranked 14th on the NHL’s career goal scoring list with 640 along with 698 assists and 1,338 points. His 1,639 career NHL regular season games are the seventh-most in league history and he holds the NHL record for most regular season power play goals with 274.
His tremendous success with the Oshawa Generals included a 100-point season in 1981-82, catching the attention of the Buffalo Sabres who selected him 16th overall in the 1982 NHL Draft. A year later the big kid from a blue collar background made his NHL debut and never looked back.
“Both my parents, both steelworkers, installed the values I continue to use,” Andreychuk said during his induction speech on. “They were with me day-in, day-out.
“One thing I’m really happy about is my parents are here and that was more important than anything else.”
Andreychuk exemplified consistency throughout his career, recording at least 20 goals in 19 of his 23 seasons headlined by a career-high 54 with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1992-93.
After going a record 22 seasons without hoisting the Stanley Cup, Andreychuk’s long wait to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame never rattled the man described by his peers as a natural leader.
Five years younger than Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, a native of Kamloops, BC, also entered the Hall.
After a season in the IHL, Recchi joined the Pittsburgh Penguins full-time in 1989 and began the fourth longest regular season NHL career in history, playing in 1,652 games. Recchi won his first Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 1991, and went on to add championships in Carolina in 2006 and Boston in 2011 – only the 10th player in NHL history to win Stanley Cups on three different teams.
“I don’t think I would’ve made it if I didn’t get that opportunity to go back and play in Kamloops,” Recchi said during his induction speech Monday, sharing stories about the special influence Kamloops and the Blazers had on his growth as a human being and professional hockey player.
Amassing 577 goals, 956 assists and 1533 points over 1652 career regular season games, Recchi’s NHL career was a continuation of his prolific scoring presence in the Western Hockey League from 1984-88. He recorded 109 goals, 183 assists and 292 points over 173 regular season games, capping off his tenure as a first team all-star in 1988.
Recchi also helped Canada capture gold at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Moscow, Russia.
“The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these hockey legends as Honoured Members,” said Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and former Medicine Hat Tiger. “Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved.”
Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s mandate is to recognize and honour the achievements of players, builders and officials who bring special distinction to the game of hockey, and to collect, preserve, research and exhibit objects, images and resource materials connected with the game as it is played in Canada and throughout the world.