Four hockey playing greats and one builder were honored Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and it was a great night for acceptance speeches.
Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and Geraldine Heaney took their turns at the podium as did Ray Shero, whose father Fred Shero, was honored as a builder. The ceremony was televised on TSN2. Each inductee was introduced by a former teammate along with a series of photos and video clips. Then the honorees took turns reflecting on their careers in front of family, friends and ex-teammates.
As decorated as each of the inductees are, Hall of Fame induction night is the pinnacle of success because it encompasses the whole of their career.
Chris Chelios was described by Bob Gainey as an all-in competitor.
Quotable: “I don’t know if I trained harder than any other athlete, but I sure started earlier than everybody and probably did it longer than everybody. I had a love-hate relationship with trainer T.R Goodman for 20 years. Mostly hate, it wasn’t a lot of fun.”
Geraldine Heaney was described by Cassie Campbell as a hockey pioneer and a game-changer.
Quotable: “To my husband John, I want to apologize for all the heat you’ve taken from your buddies at work because your wife had a harder shot than you.”
“Thank-you mom and dad for never telling me that girls don’t play hockey.
Fred Shero was described by Bobby Clarke as the greatest innovator of his time. He was among the first to use video and go to Russia to learn techniques.
Quotable: “Win today and we walk together forever,” written by the Shero on the chalkboard of the dressing room before Philadelphia’s first Stanley Cup win.
From son Ray Shero: “He preached togetherness. It was him and his players against everyone else. He told his players a team is like a family. You have to find a way to live together, to work together, to laugh together, to fight together.”
Scott Niedermayer was described by brother Rob Niedermayer as a calm leader who lead by example.
Quotable: “I’d like to thank coach Jacques Lemaire for challenging me to become a better hockey player at both ends of the ice.”
Brendan Shanahan was described by Steve Yzerman as a hard-nosed guy who stepped up in big moments of hockey.
Quotable: “I’ve tried to reflect on how this happened. I would say those afternoons and evenings out on the street with you guys (Shanahan brothers 6, 8 and 11 years older). I was so much younger, so much smaller, so much weaker that I always had to go back home and hatch a plan on how I was going to be better next time. That’s something I carried with me to the NHL. I wasn’t the most talented player, but I always tried to find the will to figure out what I needed to do next and where I could improve and how I could help my team and what kind of a role to make me unique and helpful to my team. I want to thank you guys for doing that. You’re good big brothers.”