TORONTO – Twelve-time All-Star Joe Sakic was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday in his first year of eligibility, joining Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates as the newest class of inductees.
The four former NHL stars were chosen by the Hall's 18-member selection committee. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 12.
Sakic had 625 goals and 1,016 assists in his 20-year NHL career, all with the Colorado Avalanche franchise dating to 1988 when it was the Quebec Nordiques. He won two Stanley Cups (1996, 2001), earning the Conn Smythe Tropy in 1996 and the Hart Trophy in 2001.
"As a kid I always dreamed about making the NHL, but never really thought at all about the Hockey Hall of Fame," Sakic said in a statement released by the Hall of Fame. "I was fortunate to play 20 seasons, which gave me the opportunity to build on my list of accomplishments. Having great teammates and coaches was a key component of this."
Sundin, also selected in his first year of eligibility, had 564 goals and 785 assists in his 18 seasons — including 13 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He spent four years with Sakic and the Nordiques before being traded to Toronto before the 1994-95 season, and holds Maple Leafs records for points (567), goals (420), 20-goal seasons (13), 30-goal seasons (10), game-winning goals (79) and regular-season overtime goals (14). He also led Sweden to the gold medal at the Turin Olympics in 2006.
"Three years have passed since I retired and it makes me realize how privileged I was to play my entire career in Canada, where hockey really matters," Sundin said. "Having my hobby and love for a sport become my livelihood really allowed me to live out my dream."
Oates, hired as coach of the Washington Capitals earlier in the day, is sixth on the NHL career assists list with 1,079 and also scored 341 goals in 19 seasons with seven teams.
"Obviously a fantastic day. I don't know if that's happened before," Oates said of being picked for induction and hired as a coach on the same day. "It's just a special, special day for us."
Oates, who retired in 2004, acknowledged he had the selection committee's announcement on his mind after being passed over in previous years.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't," he said. "We all know when the date was. ... I knew today was the date."
Bure, a six-time All-Star and Calder Trophy winner as the league's rookie of the year with Vancouver in 1992, had 437 goals and 342 points in 12 seasons with the Canucks, Florida and the New York Rangers. He led the NHL in scoring in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 while with the Panthers.