Hockey Hall of Fame announces class of 2018

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2018 on Tuesday. New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur, along with Martin St. Louis, Soviet-era scorer Alexander Yakushev and Jayna Hefford have been chosen in the players category, while Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, and commissioner Gary Bettman have been elected as builders.

At the front of this year’s class is Willie O’Ree who had been left out for a shockingly long time. O’Ree broke the NHL’s colour barrier as the first black player to play in the NHL back in 1957-58. He’ll go in as a builder alongside current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. That’s certainly going to be an unpopular decision. Bettman, while growing the game south of the border, is responsible for multiple lockouts during his tenure as commissioner. He’s frequently booed at events like the NHL draft.

Martin Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time wins leader with 691 career victories, will be inducted on his first time on the ballot. Brodeur spent virtually all of his career with the New Jersey Devils, winning the Stanley Cup three times and helping Team Canada to two Olympic gold medals.

Martin St. Louis, one of hockey’s best underdog stories, will also be inducted on his first ballot. St. Louis was never drafted, but, despite his small size, became an elite forward with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He helped the team to its only Stanley Cup in 2004 and won the Hart Trophy for league MVP that season too.

Jayna Hefford had a career that spanned nearly two decades with Hockey Canada. She helped Canada to a silver medal in Nagano in 1998 and four-straight Olympic gold medals in Salt Lake, Turin, Vancouver, and Sochi after that. Alexander Yakushev will best be remembered by Canadian fans as the Phil Esposito of the Soviet Union. He helped the U.S.S.R to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 1970s.

Among those who were left out of this year’s group is 1088-point scorer Theo Fleury, consistent Norris Trophy-nominee Sergei Zubov, and all-star goalie Curtis Joseph.