TORONTO There was laughter, an anecdote about loveand observations on the power of hockey.
An especially star studded Class of 2015 inductees received their Hockey Hall of Fame rings this afternoon in the opening event of a four day celebration that culminates with Monday’s induction ceremony.
Former Detroit Red Wings great Sergei Fedorov was first to receive his ring. He admired it while seated on a dais one spot away from fellow Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom. There was also defender AngelaRuggiero (Harper Woods). Detroit businessman Peter Karmanos, Jr., was inducted as a builder. The rest of the class featured defensemen Chris Pronger and Phil Housley, along with builder Bill Hay.
For the two former Wings teammates and roommates, being fellow classmates made the event even sweeter.
“I didn’t believe for long time we go in together,” Fedorov said. “I think being roommates for quite some time and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it is very, very special.”
Lidstrom said, “it is very special going in with a teammate. We were teammates for over 10 years, we had a lot of success together, and we were roommates, too. So it is very special going in with Sergei.”
Fedorov will be recognized by the Wings before Tuesday’s game against Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. wholesale nfl jerseys from china More than a decade after he bolted Detroit for Anaheim, a warm relationship between the Wings and Fedorov has been rekindled.
“It is going to be exciting time for me,” Fedorov said. “I’d like to see fans, I’d like to see the team on the ice in the red jerseys.”
For Fedorov, Detroit has remained a second home, even as his full time job is as general manager of the KHL’s CSKA Moscow.
Lidstrom moved back to Sweden soon after retiring in 2012, but to spend 21 years, and all 20 NHL seasons, in one place is something “I take a lot of pride in,” he said. “I never really wanted to leave Detroit and play anywhere else. We had great ownership, they were very committed to winning, had great teams.
“I always wanted to stay there and play there, so I’m proud to be representing one team my whole career.”
Lidstrom was known for his exceptional positional play. Pronger noted the differences between the two when asked how Lidstrom played the game without being so “brash,” Pronger said with laughter, suggesting a good descriptor his own style. “He played it the polar opposite way from the way I did. He was very cerebral.”
Fedorov, the first Russian player to record 1,000 points and play in 1,000 NHL games, was known for being an exceptional skater.
“His speed and his ability to pick up speed even while he was stick handling with his head up and making plays, very, very few players can do that,” Pronger said. “There might be a handful of players who played the game who can do what he did.”
Ruggiero noted that all five players qualify as defenders, as Fedorov played defenseman for six weeks under coach Scotty Bowman.
“I think it is awesome that league have ability, opportunity to give everybody chance,” Fedorov said. “In a political sense, that is what world should be all about. We are all on the same little planet. We have a game of hockey that gives us opportunity to say that to the world, and it just amazing feeling.”
Ruggiero was part of the US team that captured the first ever Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey in 1998.
“I am sending a message, hopefully, to the sports community as a role model for young girls, and young boys,” she said, “for what is possible. I was a hockey player in the second grade for career day. I didn’t know I could play in the Olympics. I just loved hockey.”
Bowman attended the event. His presence prompted Fedorov to relate an event dating to the mid 90s, when he was having relationship trouble with former tennis player Anna Kournikova.
“Scotty let me leave the team for three days to sort this out,” Fedorov said. “This told me a great deal about Scotty as a human being, not as a coach.”