TORONTO – With his spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame finally secured, Dino Ciccarelli is willing to admit he might not have scored all 608 goals he was credited with during his NHL career.
Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson suggested over the weekend that his former teammate took a couple of his goals. Ciccarelli doesn’t deny the story.
“Ronny was a defenceman, kind of a power-play specialist, and we played together in Minnesota,” Ciccarelli said Sunday morning during a fan event at the Hockey Hall of Fame. “He claims there was a game where he shot from the point and I deflected it, but he said I never really deflected it. Maybe that 608 should be 606 or 607.”
Those are Hall of Fame numbers just the same.
After being passed over for eight years, Ciccarelli will officially be enshrined Monday alongside women’s stars Cammi Granato and Angela James, and builder Jim Devellano. Daryl (Doc) Seaman, a founding owner of the Atlanta (now Calgary) Flames, will be inducted posthumously.
The inductees were also honoured in a ceremony ahead of Saturday’s Leafs-Sabres game, and Wilson mentioned his missing goals to Ciccarelli. They spent parts of four seasons together with the Minnesota North Stars.
“He stole a couple of goals I scored,” Wilson explained. “I know it. … That’s the days before you had replay, you know? And you’re arguing, you shot from the point and the guy’s not within 15 feet and he’s saying, `that went off my stick.'”
During his playing days, Ciccarelli could often be found battling in front of the net. Listed generously at five-foot-10, the native of Sarnia, Ont., was willing to do just about anything to score.
“Dino was a real competitor for his size,” said Wilson. “He wanted to score so bad and he played hard every night. He was vicious with his stick at times. I still can’t believe he scored 600 and some goals.
“It’s quite an accomplishment and I’m really happy for him that he finally gets recognized for it.”
Monday’s official ring ceremony and speeches will cap a busy few days for the 2010 inductees. On Sunday morning, the mood was relaxed as they exchanged stories with one another and took questions from fans.
Devellano has spent nearly 30 years working as an executive for the Detroit Red Wings. One of his first moves as general manager was drafting Steve Yzerman with the fourth overall pick in 1983—a surprise to Ciccarelli at the time because he thought the North Stars intended to take Yzerman with the No. 1 selection (they drafted Brian Lawton instead).
“If that happened, maybe the North Stars wouldn’t have ended up in Dallas,” said Devellano. “With you and Steve playing together, you might have saved the North Stars.”
James and Granato are quite familiar with one another after waging several battles on the ice.
As they discussed the honour of becoming the first women to enter the Hall, they couldn’t help but reflect back on the first ever world women’s championship in 1990. James and the Canadian women beat Granato’s U.S. squad 5-2 in the gold medal game before a sellout crowd at Ottawa’s Civic Centre.
It was unlike anything either of them had ever seen. With the Canadian fans singing in the dying moments, Granato found herself smiling on the bench even though her team was about to lose.
“At that point, I was just so happy women’s hockey was being viewed that way,” said Granato.
One thing James would like to forget about that event was the garish pink and white uniforms the Canadian team was forced to wear. In many ways, it showed how badly the Canadian women wanted to play in the event.
“We didn’t care if we wore polka dots,” said James. “It was time to put our game in the forefront.”
There were a few chuckles when one young fan asked Devellano if he could take a look at the Stanley Cup ring he was wearing. As the boy examined the jewellery—one of seven Devellano owns—Ciccarelli quipped: “I’ll give you five bucks if you can get it off his hand.”
Ciccarelli never managed to win a championship over two decades in the NHL. It probably contributed to his long wait to get a call from the Hall.
“It seems to be one of the criteria to get in is winning a Stanley Cup,” said Wilson. “But geez, how can you not put a guy in who scored over 600 goals?”