COLOGNE, Germany — Joe Sakic was one of eight inductees named to the 2017 class of the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Uwe Krupp and Teemu Selanne — two of Sakic’s former teammates — were also inducted in a ceremony held prior to the medal round games at the world hockey championship. Saku Koivu, Austrian hockey legend Dieter Kalt, U.S. women’s star Angela Ruggiero, Tony Hand and Patrick Francheterre rounded out the inductees.
Sakic finished his NHL career with 1,378 games played, 625 goals and 1,016 assists while also winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Colorado Avalanche. He ranks ninth all-time in NHL scoring and his eight career playoff overtime goals are an NHL record.
Sakic, of Burnaby, B.C., is also one of 27 members of the esteemed Triple Gold Club. In addition to his Stanley Cups, he won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 1994 world championship and was part of the team that brought home Canada’s first Olympic gold in 50 years at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. He’s currently the vice-president of hockey operations with the Avalanche.
"I was so privileged to play the game of hockey, play in the National Hockey League and to get a chance to represent my country," said Sakic. "Until you do it for the first time, you don’t really know what it means, but every time I’ve put the Canadian jersey on, I felt so much pride that you wanted to do so well and represent your country."
Krupp played four seasons with Sakic in the Colorado/Quebec Nordiques franchise. The Cologne native, inducted just minutes away from where he grew up, became the first German-born player to win the Stanley Cup when his triple-overtime goal clinched the 1996 title for the Avalanche.
Selanne also spent one season with Colorado in 2003-04. Earlier in his career he set records as an NHL rookie, winning the Calder Trophy with 76 goals and 132 points as part of the original Winnipeg Jets back in 1992-93. Selanne won a Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks and finished his 21-season NHL career with 684 goals and 773 assists for 1,457 points — ranking 15th in NHL history.
Selanne’s Olympic achievements were even more memorable. His six appearances and 43 total points are both tops in Olympic hockey. Selanne won one silver and three bronze medals and was named tournament MVP as a 43-year-old in Sochi in 2014, where he won bronze and led Finland with six points in six games.
Not surprisingly, Selanne is unhappy that the NHL won’t be sending its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"It’s every player’s dream, first of all, to play for your country, but (especially) the Olympics," he said. "Obviously, a lot of players are very disappointed that we’re not going to be, next year, in Korea.
"I hope that everybody in the hockey world realizes that we need to be there. Playing in six Olympics, it has been a big honour. I hope the NHL players will be in the Olympics in the future."
Koivu, Selanne’s countryman, was recognized as part of the first Finnish team ever to win gold at the world championship in 1995 and for his 1,124-game NHL career, which included 10 years as captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
"I want to thank the Montreal Canadiens for drafting me and providing a wonderful place to begin my NHL career," Koivu said. "As it happens, my international career began in 1993, in Germany. I ended up playing with Finland in seven world championships and four Olympic games. It seems that I have come full circle, being back in Germany and being honoured for my career.
"It has been a tremendous privilege for me to represent Finland, and the success that we have had together played a critical role in my career."
Hand, of Britain, known as the "Scottish Wayne Gretzky," received the Richard "Bibi" Torriani award for his outstanding career as a player from a smaller hockey nation, while Francheterre, of France, was named the winner of the Paul Loicq Award for his contributions to international ice hockey.