Hockey Hall of Fame: Getting the call

Ryan Kennedy

Geraldine Heaney couldn’t get a hold of anybody. Chris Chelios didn’t even know who else was going in with him. Everybody has a different tale of how they found out they had been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Upon getting the great news, organizers had told Brendan Shanahan to keep the news on the down-low in the short-term, presenting a vexing problem for the rough-and-tumble scorer.

“Couldn’t tell my mom,” he said with a grin. “Didn’t trust her.”

Instead, he told his 10-year-old son Jack and the two embraced in a poignant father-and-son moment for the ages.

Scott Niedermayer was on vacation on Vancouver Island and Ray Shero was in Hilton Head, S.C., playing football on the beach with his sons. Niedermayer had been given fair warning by the Anaheim Ducks that a call might be coming, but Shero, the Penguins GM, was unprepared. His father, legendary coach Fred Shero, had been snubbed for years, much to the chagrin of the greater hockey world. When the committee finally voted Fred in (he passed away in 1990), they had a bit of trouble getting a hold of his son, whose phone was back at the pad.

“My wife came down to the beach and told me I had six calls in 10 minutes from a 416 number,” Shero said. “I thought (Toronto Maple Leafs GM) Dave Nonis wanted to make a huge trade.”

The official ceremony for the 2013 Hall of Fame class is Monday, but the festivities have already begun and if there’s one unifying factor with this year’s selections, it’s winning. Unlike in previous years, each honoree had won multiple Stanley Cups with the exception of Heaney, who more than made up for it with international titles. And it’s not hard to find the fire of a champion in any of the nominees.

“After you’ve won a Cup, some people think you’re satisfied, that you ease up the next time around,” Shanahan said. “The exact opposite happens. Once you win the Cup and knows what it feels like and have the road map to do it, it’s something you want to win every single year.”

Now Heaney, Chelios, Shero, Niedermayer and Shanahan have one more accolade of excellence to add to their resumes.