Kim St-Pierre was not expecting the call she got on Wednesday afternoon.
It was the call, of course — the one from Lanny McDonald, NHL legend and chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, informing her that she’d been named to the Class of 2020 inductees.
I just had the best phone call ever today from Lanny McDonald !!! What an honour !! https://t.co/LjjEMIks93
— Kim St-Pierre (@KimStPierre33) June 24, 2020
“It’s hard to believe. I know some people were asking me if I was thinking that this year would be the year, but you kind of never really get prepared for that,” St-Pierre told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani and Nikki Reyes on Lead Off on Friday morning.
She had just 15 minutes to process the news before the rest of the hockey world got word.
“To have the voice of Lanny McDonald, it was crazy,” she said of getting the call. Five others got a similar call from McDonald on Wednesday — fellow players Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Doug Wilson, and Kevin Lowe, and builder Ken Holland will be inducted alongside St-Pierre.
St-Pierre has spent her entire life in hockey. The legendary goaltender was the definition of dominance in net with the Canadian National Women’s Team. She backstopped Team Canada to three consecutive Olympic gold medals (Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010), won five world championships in red and white and is Team Canada’s all-time leader in games, wins, and shutouts.
Yet, the Hall of Fame still felt out of reach.
“It’s not really something we dream about. I dreamt about going to the Olympics and maybe playing in the NHL. The Hall of Fame seemed something so unachievable, something so special for amazing players — and you never think that you get to get to their level, but once women’s hockey was introduced into the Hall of Fame in 2010, it made it so special that finally all the pioneers from women’s hockey were being recognized,” she explained. “Angela James and Cammi Granato, then it opened up the way for many others.”
Geraldine Heaney (2013), Angela Ruggiero (2015), Danielle Goyette (2017), Jayna Hefford (2018), and Hayley Wickenheiser (2019) are the other women to have been inducted. Cassie Campbell-Pascall was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee in 2018, becoming the first woman in that role.
St-Pierre will join that group this fall, set to become the eighth women’s hockey player and the first female goaltender to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“It’s a privilege, it’s an honour, and hopefully I’m gonna keep inspiring the kids and the girls to play hockey because it was a privilege for me and it was an amazing career,” she said.
St-Pierre’s early career, in many ways, mirrors that of many other legendary women’s players — not just those listed above. The lone girl on boys’ teams year after year growing up in Chateauguay, Que., St-Pierre spent her childhood hockey-playing days not seeing opportunities for girls to grow in the game.
“For me, I just wanted to be a hockey player. It did not matter if I was the only girl. But once I realized there were opportunities, it was later on in my career,” she said. “But what is so exciting to see now, the little girls, when they’re asking their parents to play hockey, they’re able to join a girls team.”
It wasn’t until university that St-Pierre was finally able to play alongside other women.
“It’s all about the opportunities. For me, I transitioned to the women’s game only at McGill University, and that changed my life,” she said. “That day, everything opened up in front of me.”
Now, she has seen the growth of the girls’ game — evident in minor hockey leagues and also in the elite women’s players young girls and boys can look up to.
“That’s something so incredible to see now,” she said. “You know, I had to look up to Patrick Roy — he was my role model. But now, so many little girls can look up to Marie-Philip Poulin and Charline Labonte, and all the great players in Canada. So that’s something magical.”