An­dr­ey­chuk’s long wait makes Hall of Fame in­duc­tion even sweeter

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS - KYLE CICERELLA

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.

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