Wrong time for Angela James

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:21 AM ET

TORONTO - The annual push to have Angela James and other top female players included in the Hockey Hall of Fame is on.

I have a problem with that, because:

Paul Henderson is not in the Hall.

Doug Gilmour is not in the Hall.

Carl Brewer is not in the Hall.

J.C. Tremblay is not in the Hall.

Every one of those players accomplished great things in the NHL or on the world stage, or both.

In the case of Brewer, the late Toronto native was a star defenceman in the NHL, won a bronze medal with Canadaís national team at the 1967 world championships AND was instrumental in former NHL Playersí Association boss Alan Eagleson being convicted and sent to prison for racketeering, fraud and embezzlement.

And heís not in the Hall. And likely never will be.

I realize there are arguments to be made that Brewer, Tremblay, etc., donít belong in the Hall, as only the greatest of the great are included.

But if dozens of former NHL first-team all-stars and Stanley Cup winners, such as Brewer and Tremblay, arenít good enough for the HHOF, is it right that James, who made a name for herself by scoring tons of goals against vastly inferior international teams, be included?

We all know, outside of the U.S. and Canada, womenís hockey is weak.

Iím sorry if that doesnít sit well with some people, but thatís the truth, and no amount of wishful thinking on the part of the politically correct media is going to change that.

James, along with Cammi Granato and Geraldine Heaney, were inducted into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, which is fine.

Thatís where they were stars, in international hockey (even though it was largely against weak competition).

You know who else is in the International HHOF?

Former German national team star Erich Kuhnhackl, who competed in three Olympics and 10 world championships and is the only German player ever to earn top-scorer honours at a worlds. He was a true hockey pioneer.

But despite his stellar international career, Kuhnhackl is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

If James makes it into the Hockey Hall of Fame, shouldnít Kuhnhackl, and other former international stars be inducted?

James also was a star in the Ontario college system and in the old Central Ontario Womenís Hockey League.

Thatís wonderful.

Willie (The Whip) Marshall, recorded a record 523 goals and 1,375 points in the American Hockey League and also played 33 games in the NHL and heís not in the HHOF.

And he shouldnít be, because the AHL is not the best league in the world.

Itís about competition, not about gender. Again, outside of the U.S. and Canada, there is little competition in womenís hockey.

In 1971, the Baseball Hall of Fame finally admitted Negro League players, who did not play in the major leagues.

The difference there is, most, if not all, former Negro League stars would undoubtedly have been stars in the majors ó if given the opportunity.

Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson, to name two, would have excelled at the major-league level. They belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Erich Kuhnhackl and Willie Marshall would not have been stars in the NHL.

They donít belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Paul Henderson ever did was score the Goal of the Century, in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR.

He also scored the winning goals in Games 6 and 7, and scored 236 goals in 13 NHL seasons, with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Flames. And heíll likely never get into the Hall.

Given that, is it right if James, the former Newtonbrook Panthers star, gets in?

Donít get me wrong, I believe pioneers in womenís hockey should be recognized.

And they have been, in the International HHOF.

I even think it would be a good idea if the Hockey Hall of Fame set up a section recognizing womenís hockey.

I would even suggest that someone like Fran Rider belongs in the builders category in the HHOF.

And I wouldnít have an argument with women being inducted in the HHOF at some future date in the players category if womenís hockey becomes a major international sport with more than just two nations competing at a serious level.

But should James sit alongside the true greats when the likes of Henderson and Brewer and Tremblay and other former NHL all-stars are shut out?

Thatís political correctness run amok.


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