Before Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk received the call telling them they would be the latest players to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Hame, they were members of another exclusive club.
All four inductees in the Class of 2011 are Team Canada alumni, wearing the red and white maple leaf at one point during their illustrious careers.
It is the first time since 2007, when Ron Francis, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier and Scott Stevens were inducted, that all four players honoured had a Team Canada connection.
Belfour is the most senior of this year’s four as far as Team Canada games go, playing 33 games for his country, all of which came with Canada’s National Men’s Team during the 1989-90 season, the year before he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie and Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender.
The Carmen, Man., native served as the third goaltender at both the 1991 Canada Cup and 2002 Olympic Winter Games, helping Canada to victories in both events.
Nieuwendyk was Belfour’s teammate on the 2002 team that ended Canada’s 50-year Olympic gold medal drought, recording a goal and assist in six games in what was his fifth and final appearance for Team Canada. The 2002 Games were his second - he played in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the first to feature NHLers, where Canada finished fourth.
The Whitby, Ont., native made his international debut at the 1986 IIHF World Junior Championship in Hamilton, Ont., recording 12 points in six games to help Canada to a silver medal, played five games with Canada’s National Men’s Team in 1986-87 and also represented his country at the 1990 IIHF World Championship, finishing fourth.
Gilmour teamed with Nieuwendyk at the 1990 Worlds, which would be the last of the Kingston, Ont., native’s three Team Canada appearances. He played for Canada at the memorable 1987 Canada Cup, and also with the Cornwall Royals at the 1981 IIHF World Junior Championship, which was the last time Canada sent a club team before the introduction of the Program of Excellence one year later.
Howe joined with his legendary father Gordie and brother Marty in the 1974 Summit Series for his only international appearance in red and white. He finished with four points in seven games playing as a forward, although he would make the transition to defence during his NHL career.
The four will be officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 14 in Toronto.
1989-90 National Men’s Team - 33 GP | 13-12-6 | 3.09 GAA | 0 SO
1991 Canada Cup - 0 GP | 0-0-0 | 0.00 GAA | 0 SO | 1st Place
2002 Olympic Winter Games - 0 GP | 0-0-0 | 0.00 GAA | 0 SO | Gold Medal
TOTAL - 33 GP | 13-12-6 | 3.09 GAA | 0 SO
1981 IIHF World Junior Championship - 5 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 P | 0 PIM | 7th Place
1987 Canada Cup - 8 GP | 2 G | 0 A | 2 P | 4 PIM | 1st Place
1990 IIHF World Championship - 9 GP | 1 G | 4 A | 5 P | 18 PIM | 4th Place
TOTAL - 22 GP | 3 G | 4 A | 7 P | 22 PIM
1974 Summit Series - 7 GP | 2 G | 2 A | 4 P | 4 PIM | 2nd Place
TOTAL - 7 GP | 2 G | 2 A | 4 P | 4 PIM
1986 IIHF World Junior Championship - 7 GP | 5 G | 7 A | 12 P | 6 PIM | Silver Medal
1986-87 National Men’s Team - 5 GP | 2 G | 0 A | 2 P | 0 PIM
1990 IIHF World Championship - 1 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 P | 0 PIM | 4th Place
1998 Olympic Winter Games - 6 GP | 2 G | 3 A | 5 P | 2 PIM | 4th Place
2002 Olympic Winter Games - 6 GP | 1 G | 1 A | 2 P | 0 PIM | Gold Medal
TOTAL - 25 GP | 10 G | 11 A | 21 P | 8 PIM
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