Andreychuk’s long wait makes Hall of Fame induction even sweeter
TORONTO Dave Andreychuk had a sense that his numbers would be good enough to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He just had to stay patient.
Andreychuk retired in 2006 after a 23-year NHL career, and his 640 goals make him the 14th-highest scoring player of all time. Of the 17 retired players to hit the 600-goal mark, he was the only one not in the Hall other than co-inductee Teemu Selanne despite being eligible for induction since 2009. Selanne only became eligible this year.
“I think 600 goals on the resume, it’s got to happen eventually,” said Andreychuk.
“To be honest when I look at the time it took to get in it just makes it sweeter. I think the numbers speak for themselves. You just hope your time will come. One thing I’m really happy about is my parents are here and that was more important than anything else.”
Andreychuk became an honoured member of the Hall on Friday along with former NHL greats, Mark Recchi, Selanne and Paul Kariya and Canadian women’s star Danielle Goyette. Longtime Canadian university coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs entered in the builder category.
A formal induction ceremony was scheduled for Monday night.
The 54-year-old Andreychuk — who was drafted in 1982 by Buffalo and made stops in Toronto, New Jersey, Boston, Colorado and Tampa Bay — was driving on a Florida freeway to pick up his wife from the airport when he got the call.
“My heart started to race right away. I immediately hung up and called my father,” said Andreychuk, who mentioned he pulled off the road to answer. “My mother did most the talking, saying ‘It was about time,’ but my father was crying at the same time.”
The long wait never rattled the man described by his peers as a natural leader. Andreychuk went 22 seasons in the league before ultimately lifting the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay.
“It’s like winning the Stanley Cup,” said Andreychuk. “You’ve been dreaming about it all your life but you don’t know how you’re going to react until it happens.”
Andreychuk is still the all-time leader for career power-play goals with 274. Most of them came from the front of the net with his six-foot-four, 220-pound body paying the price. He made his paycheque by being a goalie’s nightmare.