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Breaking Down the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022

There's a lot of talk about who didn't make the Hockey Hall of Fame, but make no mistake: the next class is fully worthy of the distinction.
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The Hockey Hall of Fame unveiled its Class of 2022 Monday afternoon, and although there were some omissions from the newest group of honored members – and we’ll get to them in a moment – the HHOF induction committee got it right.

There are six new HHOF members: goaltender Roberto Luongo, forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Daniel Alfredsson, women’s star Riika Salinen, and, in the builder’s category, Herb Carnegie. 

And not one of them is a controversial or borderline case. Each of them carved out their own spot in hockey history, and the HHOF nod is a terrific way to pay homage to them.

Certainly, there are eligible players and builders who would’ve made excellent HHOF inductees this year. Start with a superstar like Russian sniper Alexander Mogilny, still not inducted despite a resume that includes 473 regular-season NHL goals and 1,032 points in 990 games. The 53-year-old has been retired as a player since 2006, and he’s a Stanley Cup winner who helped pave the way for Russians in the game’s best league – he was the very first draftee from the former Soviet Union to defect to North America and prove his considerable value.

Then there’s another star of the women’s game – three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time International Ice Hockey Federation world champion, and U.S. collegiate dynamo forward Jennifer Botterill. The 43-year-old, now front and center as a Hockey Night in Canada analyst, retire as a player back in 2011, and after a decade removed as a competitor, Botterill deserves to be inducted sooner than later. Nobody would’ve batted an eye if she were in Monday’s announced Class of 2022, and that’s all the more reason she should be in the HHOF.

That said, you can’t find any fault with the six people who were selected this year. Luongo deserved to be honored because, for a very long stretch of time, he was one of, if not the best goaltenders on the planet – a cool customer who stole games on the regular as he played 1,044 regular-season games and won two IIHF world championships, a World Cup of Hockey championship, and a pair of Olympic gold medals. Later on, the 43-year-old would increase his already-sizeable popularity with a strong, if unofficial presence on Twitter. He humanized a position that is, too often, a black-and-white business, and he’ll make the HHOF a more relatable, achievable place to be for young goalies dreaming of dominating as Luongo did.

And really, has there ever been two classier hockey players than the Sedins? Despite being a target of irrational hatred, Henrik and Daniel never took the low road, and established themselves as superstars during their 17 NHL seasons. Henrik won a Hart Trophy as the game’s most valuable player, an Art Ross Trophy as top scorer, and an IIHF world championship and Olympic gold medal. Daniel won an Art Ross, a Ted Lindsay Award as NHL MVP as voted by players, and also IIHF and Olympic gold medals. Together the twins generated 2,111 regular-season NHL points, and were (and are) as tremendous ambassadors as the sport ever has seen.

Alfredsson also conducted himself with great grace and determination during his 18-season NHL career, in which he amassed 713 assists and 1,157 points. Like his fellow Swedes the Sedins, Alfredsson was a key cog in his homeland’s international hockey successes; the 49-year-old won gold and silver at the Olympics, and two silvers at the IIHF world championships. Despite the unending pressures that come with playing in a hockey fishbowl like Ottawa, Alfredsson brought honor and respect to the Senators organization.

Salinen, meanwhile, has the distinct achievement of being the first woman of non-North-American heritage to be inducted into the HHOF. The 49-year-old Finland native represented her homeland for 16 years, winning two Olympic bronze medals, one IIHF world championship silver medals and six bronze medals, and three European championship gold medals. Despite retiring in 2019, she remains the all-time top European scorer in World Championships and Olympics.

Finally, there’s the truly great black hockey pioneer Carnegie, who passed away in 2012 at age 92. He was a high-impact player in the Quebec Provincial and Senior Hockey Leagues who overcame horrific racism – racism that kept him from playing in the NHL – to serve as a role model for minorities in the game. His legacy as a person who paved the way for a multicultural, multi-racial game remains intact, and will only grow from here.

Of the group of six honored Monday, only Mogilny won a Cup. But this isn’t the Stanley Cup Hall of Fame. It’s the Hockey Hall of Fame, and there’s no question each of the newest members have left an unforgettable footprint on the sport.

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