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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hall inductees epitomize winning

Shanahan, Niedermayer, Chelios et al. know success

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TORONTO -- This is a different kind of accomplishment for Scott Niedermayer.

As a player, he won everything, from youth provincial titles to four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. On Monday he'll be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame with his plaque reading: "The epitome of a champion."

"When you're competing, you're actually in control of what's going on," Niedermayer said. "This is sort of a phone call and I hadn't played hockey in three years and they give you this great honour. It feels different. It sort of sums it up, I guess, the work that you've done and the things you've accomplished as a player."

Niedermayer is in good company. The class of 2013 is the first since 2009 in which every member with NHL connections has his name on the Stanley Cup. Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan each won it three times as players, while Fred Shero won it twice as a coach. Geraldine Heaney won an Olympic gold medal and seven world championship titles with Canada.

"If you're going into the Hall of Fame, you're a winner, obviously, and that's why you're going in," said Heaney, who is the third woman to be inducted after Cammi Granato and Angela James. "It's such a great group of guys to be going in with. Those are the guys I watched on TV and was like, 'Oh, wow,' and never thought that one day I'd be sitting beside them getting in to the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Three defencemen, a power winger and an innovative coach are going into the Hall of Fame, but more than anything this group has winning in common. In addition to the Cups, each of the players won gold internationally -- Niedermayer, Shanahan and Heaney for Canada and Chelios for the United States.

"Each one of these guys has performed at a good enough level that they could represent their country overseas among the best," selection committee chairman Pat Quinn said. "This particular group is probably special... The Stanley Cup is still the key one for the selection committee, but now you do consider these other awards and championships."

The success of this group overlapped often. Chelios and Shanahan won one Cup together with the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings, and Niedermayer and Shanahan were on Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"I always said the individual awards were a reflection on your team and your teammates," Chelios said. "There's so many people that played significant roles in me getting here."

Chelios played 1,651 games -- the most of any defenceman or American in NHL history -- in parts of 26 seasons. It could've been more if not for the lockout that shortened the 1996 season and wiped out 2004-05.

Shanahan, now the NHL's vice president in charge of player safety, is the only player to score over 600 goals and record over 2,000 penalty minutes.

Shero, who died in 1990 and will be represented Monday by son and Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero, had a .612 career winning percentage as a coach, most notably with the Philadelphia Flyers' Broad Street Bullies teams of the 1970s.

Heaney, considered the women's hockey's version of Bobby Orr, represented Canada almost a dozen times at major tournaments.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2013 C6

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