Rings of hon­our

Bettman, Brodeur, rest of Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2018 get their rings

The Western Star - - SPORTS - BY JOSHUA CLIPPERTON

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2018 are the own­ers of some new hard­ware.

NHL com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman, goalie Martin Brodeur, diminu­tive winger Martin St. Louis, league trail­blazer Wil­lie O’Ree, Cana­dian women’s star Jayna Hef­ford and Rus­sian great Alexan­der Yaku­shev re­ceived their Hall of Fame rings to­day in Toronto.

The group will be in­ducted into the hall dur­ing a cer­e­mony on Mon­day night.

The NHL has grown from 24 to 31 teams un­der Bettman’s watch since he took over as com­mis­sioner in 1993, with an­nual rev­enue bal­loon­ing to US$5 bil­lion. He’s also over­seen three lock­outs, in­clud­ing the can­cel­la­tion of the en­tire 200405 sea­son, with an­other work stop­page po­ten­tially loom­ing in ei­ther 2020 or 2022.

“I think we have the great­est game in the world, we have the great­est ath­letes in the world play­ing our game, and our fans are the great­est,” Bettman said. “And when you put that com­bi­na­tion to­gether, the sky’s the limit as to how much more we can even grow this game.”

Brodeur is a three-time Stan­ley Cup cham­pion with the New Jersey Devils, a four-time Vez­ina Tro­phy win­ner, a five-time Jen­nings Tro­phy re­cip­i­ent, and is the NHL’s all-time leader in vic­to­ries (691) and shutouts (125).

“This is a great hon­our,” Brodeur said. “Ob­vi­ously hav­ing this ring is some­thing that’s never ex­pected.”

St. Louis went from not be­ing drafted to a 17-year NHL ca­reer that in­cluded 1,134 reg­u­larsea­son games, 1,033 points and a Hart Tro­phy as league MVP. The five-foot-eight for­ward won the Stan­ley Cup with the Tampa Bay Light­ning in 200304 and was on Canada’s men’s Olympic team that brought home gold in 2014.

O’Ree be­came the NHL’s first black player when he was called up by the Bos­ton Bru­ins in 1958. He had a long ca­reer in the mi­nors, but played just 45 NHL games. O’Ree re­turned to the league fold in 1996 as an am­bas­sador.

Hef­ford won four Olympic gold medals for Canada, while Yaku­shev starred for USSR at the 1972 Sum­mit Se­ries against Canada. He also won Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976.

CP PHOTO

Hockey Hall of Fame in­ductees, from left, Gary Bettman, Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hef­ford, Wil­lie O’Ree, Martin St. Louis and Alexan­der Yaku­shev pose for a pho­to­graph Fri­day in Toronto.

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