Niedermayer, Shanahan give Hockey Hall New Jersey flavor

Scott Niedermayer played 13 seasons for the Devils. Credit: Getty Images
Scott Niedermayer played 13 seasons for the Devils.
Credit: Getty Images

There will be a decidedly New Jersey flavor to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.

Former Devils Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, co-chairmen of the Selection Committee Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn announced in Toronto yesterday afternoon.

“I think there’s a pride for the New Jersey Devils organization,” Devils team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello told Metro New York in a phone conversation.

Niedermayer and Shanahan will join Chris Chelios, Canadian female star Geraldine Heaney and legendary coach Fred Shero. The quintet will be formally inducted into the Hall on Nov. 11 in Toronto.

The triumvirate of Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan played key roles on a combined 10 Stanley Cup championship-winning teams.

“Today was a great day for three great hockey players,” Lamoriello said. “What haven’t they done?”

Shanahan was Lamoriello’s first draft pick as the Devils’ GM in 1987. Lamoriello used the No. 3 overall pick in 1991 on Niedermayer. Shanahan finished with 656 goals, 1,354 points and 2,489 penalty minutes in 1,524 games with the Devils, Rangers, Blues, Whalers and Detroit Red Wings in a 21-year career that saw him become the pre-eminent power forward of his generation. He won Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002 with the Red Wings.

Niedermayer compiled 740 points (172 goals and 568 assists) in 1,263 games spanning 18 seasons with the Devils and the Anaheim Ducks. He was on all three Devils’ Cup-winning teams as well as Anaheim’s championship squad in 2007, when he won the Conn Smythe. Niedermayer won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 2004 with the Devils.

“World class people, world class players,” said Lamoriello, who noted he had not had an opportunity to speak with Niedermayer or Shanahan, but expected to speak with both soon.

Even though they never played together in the NHL, both Niedermayer and Shanahan were members of the 2002 Olympic gold-medal winning team and the 1996 Canadian World Cup of Hockey team that lost to Chelios and Team USA in the championship round.

A three-time Norris Trophy winner (1989 with Montreal, 1993 and 1996 with Chicago), Chelios won Cups with Montreal (1986) and Detroit (2002, 2008). In 1,651 NHL games with Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta, Chelios recorded 948 points and 2,891 penalty minutes.

“It’s a great honor to be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame,” Chelios said in a statement released by the Hall. “To have such a long career in the game has been fantastic for me, and being named to the Hall is a huge recognition for what I was able to accomplish.”

No coach in Flyers history accomplished more than Shero. In 10 seasons with Philadelphia and the Rangers, Shero compiled a record of 390-225-119, and his teams qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in eight of his 10 years. He masterminded the Flyers’ Stanley Cup championship-winning squads in 1973-74 and 1974-75.

Heaney is the third woman to be welcomed into the Hall, after Angela James and Cammi Granto were inducted in 2010. A defenseman, Heaney played on seven IIHF World Championship-winning teams for Canada. She was on the Olympic silver medal-winning team in 1998 and the gold-medal team in 2002.

“This continues the big step that women’s hockey is taking and the pioneering of Angela James and Cammi Granato. I am very proud to join them in helping to grow [our] game,” Heaney said in the statement.

In June, it was announced that longtime hockey writer Jay Greenberg and CBC broadcaster Harry Neale were named this year’s NHL Media Award winners. Greenberg was named the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner for excellence in hockey journalism, while Neale was named the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner for outstanding contributions in hockey broadcasting. The Hockey Hall of Fame recognizes these awards, as voted on by the broadcasters’ and writers’ associations, with plaques in the Hall.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



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