Winning the Stanley Cup may be the most coveted achievement in hockey, but inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto can't be far behind.
The NHL announced this year's inductees on Tuesday, with Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mark Howe and Doug Gilmour comprising the list. While this was Gilmour and Nieuwendyk's second year of eligibility, it was Belfour's first.
"It is hard to put into words what this means to me," Belfour said. "I would like to thank all of my teammates and people along the way who helped me achieve my hockey dreams."
Belfour, the former Calder, Vezina and Jennings-wining goalkeeper won the Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Dallas Stars. In the playoffs that year, Belfour went 16-7 with a 1.67 goals against average. Belfour also played for the Blackhawks for almost a decade, and he spent some time with the Sharks, Maple Leafs and a year with the Panthers. In a NHL career that spanned almost two decades, Belfour racked up 484 career wins and 76 shutouts. His win total is third all-time, behind Patrick Roy and Marty Brodeur.
Nieuwendyk was on Belfour's Stanley Cup team in 1999, and Nieuwendyk also won with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and the New Jersey Devils in 2003. Nieuwendyk, who is currently the Stars' general manager, also won the Calder and Conn Smythe trophies, and has an Olympic gold medal. Nieuwendyk totaled 1,126 regular season points and 116 postseason points.
Gilmour also starred on Calgary's 1989 championship team. As a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Gilmour won the Selke trophy as the best defensive forward and was second in voting for the Hart Trophy. The St. Louis Blues drafted Gilmour, and he went on to play for six other teams and finish with 1,414 regular season points and 188 postseason points.
Howe, Gordie Howe's son, played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and the now-defunct Hartford Whalers. Despite not winning any major hardware, Howe was a runner-up for the Norris Trophy three times.
"I was elated to have this dream come true given that it is a tremendous honor just to have my name mentioned with the upper echelon of hockey," Howe said. "To actually have my name in the Hall of Fame with my dad will mean so much to my family."