Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn (co-chairs), Scotty Bowman, David Branch, Colin Campbell, John Davidson, Eric Duhatschek, Jan-Ake Edvinsson, Mike Emrick, Michael Farber, Mike Gartner, Dick Irvin, Lanny McDonald, Yvon Pedneault, Serge Savard, Harry Sinden, Peter Stastny and Bill Torrey.
If you are a hockey fan, you will recognize almost every one of those names. And you should, because they are the 18 guys who decide eternal enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame. They’re all sharp guys. They’re all experienced hockey people. So how did they screw up this year’s inductees so badly?
Don’t get me wrong. Dino Ciccarelli, Jimmy Devellano, Doc Seaman, Cammi Granato and Angela James all deserved to go into the Hockey Hall last night. Actually, I’m not 100% positive about Dino Ciccarelli; the point is moot, because he’s in.
What really bothers me is that Pat Burns is not. Pat, we fear, will not have many (if any) subsequent chances to enjoy his HHOF induction. He is gravely ill with cancer. What I cannot understand is why this group of eighteen, supposedly hockey-savvy individuals has failed to grasp that.
Pat is no longer coaching in the NHL. His career numbers will not change. Ever. If he is worthy of the Hall in, say, five years, he is worthy NOW! Grab a brain, gentlemen. Too late, actually, because you’ve blown it. Fully.
This past weekend, ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun indicated here, http://es.pn/dttCKZ, that there was a misunderstanding in the 2010 voting process. The vote for this weekend’s inductees was held last June. Apparently, some of the 18 committee members did not understand how the process worked. And this is where I am completely bewildered.
Hey guys, you understand that you are basically holding the integrity of the HHOF in your 36 hands, right? You get that your decisions and votes affect how fans worldwide view the game and its luminaries. Because it’s doesn’t seem that you do.
How could one (or more) of you not understand the voting process? Ask a question, for gawd sakes! Ask many questions…but get it right! HNIC’s Ron MacLean stated, last Saturday, that a mix-up in understanding the voting process falls on the shoulders of the man/men chairing the meeting. Maybe it does…and maybe it doesn’t. Who knows what was explained and what wasn’t? Only the 18 know that.
But the point is that, if you don’t understand something – especially something as life-altering as a HHOF induction – ask a question! Ask lots of them, until you understand it. When you look at the names on the list of 18, there’s enough ego to fill a blimp. That may preclude questions right there.
Many fans were also surprised that former Flames’ and Stars’ forward Joe Nieuwendyk didn’t receive a tap on the shoulder from the Hall. Ditto Doug Gilmour. That’s OK, because Nieuwy and Dougie will have many more chances to enjoy their inductions in the future. Pat Burns will not.
It sickens and saddens me that these 18 people, because of a simple, stupid misunderstanding, may have robbed a deserving person of an honour he can savour in person.