Ed Belfour didn't have to wait long to make the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Eagle got his phone call in his first year of eligibility.
Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk had to sweat it out a little bit longer, but like Belfour, they were also selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
No builders, females or officials were selected by the Selection Committee. The induction ceremony is Nov. 14 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
"The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these four hockey legends as Honored Members," said Jim Gregory, Co-Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee. "Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved."
Belfour is third all-time in career wins with 484 and he won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, posting a 1.67 goals-against average in the playoffs. He played for Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Toronto and Florida over his career, which included 963 appearances and 76 shutouts.
Belfour won the Vezina Trophy twice, the William M. Jennings Trophy four times and the Calder Trophy.
"It is hard to put into words what this means to me," Belfour said. "I would like to thank all of my teammate and people along the way who helped me achieve my hockey dreams."
Gilmour, who has been eligible for induction since 2009, won the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1989 and the Selke Trophy with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993, when he was also a runner-up for the Hart Trophy. He finished the 1992-93 season with 127 points and finished his career with 1,414 points over 1,474 games. He also had 188 points in 182 playoff games.
"This is an overwhelming honor and one that makes me reflect back on the teammates and coaches I have had over years," Gilmour said. "Larry Mavety, who gave me a chance in Tier II hockey and Gord Wood who drafted me into Junior at Cornwall, are two people who were instrumental in helping me establish myself as a player."
Howe finished a 16-year career in the NHL in 1995 with 742 points in 929 games with the Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. He was known as one of the best two-way defensemen in the 1980s and was a three-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy.
Howe, whose father is Gordie Howe, was a three-time First-team NHL All-Star and played in four All-Star Games. He had a career-high 24 goals and 82 points in 1985-86 with the Flyers. He also played six seasons in the World Hockey Association, mostly as a forward.
"I was elated to have this dream come true given that it is a tremendous honor just to have my name mentioned with the upper echelon of hockey," said Howe, who has been eligible for induction since 1998. "To actually have my name in the Hall of Fame with my Dad will mean so much to my family."
Nieuwendyk, who was in his second year of eligibility, won the Stanley Cup three times with three different teams in three different decades. He won his first with Gilmour in 1989, his second with Belfour in 1999 and again with New Jersey in 2003.
Nieuwendyk, who is the GM of the Dallas Stars, was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner when he helped the Stars win the Cup in 1999. He finished his career with 564 goals and 562 assists for 1,126 points in 1,257 games. He also won the Calder Trophy in 1988 and an Olympic gold with Team Canada in 2002.
"Every player does their best year after year and strives to play at a very high level," Nieuwendyk said. "I truly love the game and love to compete, and I'm pleased to be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl