Mario Lemieux, Geraldine Heaney to join Order of Hockey in Canada

Will Connor McDavid become the next Gretzky? Lemieux? Maybe Howe? Bob McCown of Prime Time Sports has his doubts 13 games into his rookie debut. Bob Nicholson however thinks McDavid is his own brand of a special player.

HALIFAX — Pittsburgh Penguins great Mario Lemieux and women’s hockey star Geraldine Heaney headlined Tuesday’s announcement of the 2016 class of the Order of Hockey in Canada.

A winner of two Stanley Cups with the Penguins and now co-owner and chairman of the club, Lemieux left a mark on hockey in Canada and internationally.

Lemieux recorded 49 points in 36 games as a member of Team Canada and captained the country to victory at the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup. He also helped Canada to gold at the 1987 Canada Cup and silver at the 1985 world championship.

The Hockey Hall of Famer had 1,723 points in 915 games with the Penguins, and his career average of 1.883 points per game is second only to Wayne Gretzky.

Heaney helped Canada win gold at the 2002 Olympics as well as seven world championships in women's hockey. She was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013, doing her part to put women's hockey on the map with a gold medal win at the inaugural World Women's Championship in 1990.

Lemieux and Heaney were honoured alongside the long-time Canadian Hockey League president David Branch and the former CEO and president of Hockey Canada and the current CEO and vice-chair of the Edmonton Oilers, Bob Nicholson.

Canada won 44 gold medals in international competition during Nicholson's 16-year tenure at Hockey Canada

"Between David, Geraldine, Mario, and Bob, they have impacted millions of people in Canada and around the world through their work within the sport of hockey," said Tom Renney, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. "I congratulate them all, on behalf of my colleagues at Hockey Canada and the Order of Hockey in Canada selection committee, as well as our board of directors, volunteers, and the 750,000 registered members from coast-to-coast-to-coast, on this well-deserved recognition."

The recipients of the Order are honoured for their contributions or service to the growth and development of hockey in Canada.

The Order of Hockey in Canada includes 18 honourees since inception in 2012. This year's class will be celebrated at the upcoming Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic on June 20 and 21 in Halifax.