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Hockey Hall of Fame induction a break from labor woes

November 11, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Hockey Hall of Fame classmates, from left, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates and Joe Sakic, are presented with their jackets before the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Game on Sunday in Toronto.
Hockey Hall of Fame classmates, from left, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, Adam… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

We know how much money the NHL claims to be losing as a result of the lockout it imposed Sept. 15 -- $730 million as of last week, according to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly -- and we know that fans have become, in turn, angry and apathetic. And that league, team and arena workers are losing work hours and pay.

But what isn’t mentioned is that there’s another victim of this labor dispute: the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony, which will take place Monday in Toronto but isn’t getting the usual attention because of the lockout.

The annual Hall of Fame game would have been played Saturday in Toronto but that was, of course, among the 326 games the league canceled through Nov. 30. And without hockey going on, it’s easy to forget that the annual induction ceremony will go on as scheduled. The ongoing negotiations between the league and the NHL Players' Assn. has dominated what little hockey talk there is.

That’s grossly unfair to a fine class that consists of Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin, as well as media honorees Rick Jeanneret, longtime voice of the Buffalo Sabres, and prolific and skillful writer Roy MacGregor, now with the Globe and Mail. Few players were as electrifying as Bure; few as skilled a passer as Oates. Sakic was a quiet and stoic leader, while Sundin was a standout on some mediocre Toronto teams and, unfortunately, never won the Stanley Cup.

The excitable Jeanneret has been with the Sabres for more than 40 years, while few writers can claim the regard, resume and honors earned by MacGregor.  

It’s unclear whether Commissioner Gary Bettman will appear at Monday’s induction ceremony because he’s sure to be targeted for scorn. He might want to keep an especially low profile Monday if he attends at all.

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