By Ellen Chlumecky
On Monday, November 17th, the Class of 2014 was ushered into the Hockey Hall of Fame. These four players from four different countries each played a major role in an important international game which is why they were being honored with this highly esteemed awards. The four former athletes were Peter Forsberg of team Sweden, Mike Modano of team United States, Dominik Hasek of team Czech Republic, and Rob Blake of team Canada.
Peter Forsberg helped team Sweden win gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Mike Modano helped the United States team win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Dominik Hasek helped the Czech Republic team win gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics while also earning tournament MVP honors. Rob Blake helped team Canada achieve a victory at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics after receiving losses in the past three tournaments. These four athletes spent their entire careers working towards greatness and on Friday they were acknowledged not only for their individual team effort but for their international team effort as well.
Not only were these athletes recognized, but a special group of broadcast journalists as well. Pat Foley, of the Chicago Blackhawks, received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Kevin Allen received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. Coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary also received awards for their dedication to the sport and were inducted into their career category.
Not only is it a huge honor for the National Hockey League to have these amazing athletes in their organization, it is a huge advancement for hockey in general because of the coverage this special event received. The induction ceremony was broadcasted live not only throughout Canada but also through North America. While it was not broadcasted on every major sports channel in the US, it received an immense amount of coverage by the NHL Network.
This particular Hall of Fame class was immensely showed how the globalization of hockey has increased in the past few years. The athletes inducted were not just from the United States and Canada, but from the Czech Republic and Sweden as well. To have four players from four different countries has shown the importance that hockey is making on the world. This class of 2014 has shown the globalization of hockey is spreading even faster than we had originally thought.
I have said it before and I will say it again, hockey is an amazing sport that requires physical and mental toughness. It takes a great deal of skill, endurance, and passion to play hockey and these four men who received awards on Friday are just some of the few that we are so immensely proud of in the NHL. It makes me so happy to see the recognition of these athletes and broadcasters and it makes me even happier to see the diverse coverage of the Hockey Hall of Fame.