First, a complaint: For the 42nd consecutive year I wasn’t invited to the Hockey Hall Of Fame ceremony.
Initially it left me rather bitter, but, according to my editor, there is indeed a pecking order I have to respect and Cheryl – who sprays pesticides (part-time) at the head office - did have a good year.
But if anyone with any sort of clout is reading this, I’d welcome the opportunity to attend the event. I can move chairs, mix drinks and sweep a little, but I absolutely draw the line at serving urinal cakes (won’t fall for that one again).
Secondly, in case you were wondering, the official term to use is: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. To tell people you’re sticking close to the television tonight so you can watch Igor Larionov be induced can certainly draw some curious stares.
In all honesty, it’s probably better I didn’t go to the Hall of Fame thingy this year after all. Frankly, I hear the place smells like old people. If you think about it, the Hall of Fame - any Hall of Fame for that matter - is ostensibly a cemetery with really high standards or perhaps a mausoleum with glossy photos. The last time this much white met that much wrinkly, Moby Dick was ramming a walrus.
Still it has to be pretty emotional to enter the esteemed hockey Hall. I’ve only entered it as a patron thus far and I got pretty choked up myself ($13? Really?).
You have to love the speeches leading up to the induction itself, where people from your past who you thought actually hated you, speak on your behalf. It’s a cross between a wedding speech and a sentencing hearing, except your buddy from college is not there pleading with you to “leave for Tijuana while you still have the chance.”
Historically there’s anywhere from two to eight people inducted per year. The roll call usually contains one or two players you’ve heard of; a couple you haven’t; a Zamboni driver who gets in as a “builder” because he stuck with a minimum wage job for the last 49 years; some European player who still maintains legendary status back home in Luxembourg, even though he only scored two goals in 472 games in North America; and lastly, somebody from the vast horde of print, radio or television whose voice was just annoying enough to be inducted as a member of the “vast” hockey media family (akin to being named “fastest snail”).
The inductee will often make a heartfelt speech, thanking everyone who had a hand in getting him to this vaunted position, including Mom, Dad and everyone in the family, except that one brother who never got over being born with an inferior slapshot; assorted coaches; Jesus; and the makers of Contac C.
While receiving the Hockey Hall of Fame jacket and being taught the secret HHOF handshake is way cool, the real prize following the induction ceremony is being presented with the plaque bearing your likeness (or Mel Gibson’s if you’re horribly disfigured), which will hang forever in an old, converted bank vault.
I always thought it was kind of cheap that the NHL uses simple plaques to immortalize its inductees while other sports go to the full expense of producing lifelike bronze statues for their honored members. Turns out the league is just being proactive; realizing that one fateful day they will welcome a woman to hockey’s hallowed hall, and the last thing you want someone saying to a newly-enshrined female member is “Hey congratulations, Mallory. Nice bust.”
The NHL: always thinking ahead.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org