Nieuwendyk, Gilmour to Hall of Fame

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:38 AM ET

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup winning team has put two more members into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour, who scored the Cup-clinching goal in the final series against the Montreal Canadiens in 1989, and Joe Nieuwendyk were both elected Tuesday.

Their induction ceremony will be Nov. 14.

“It was quite a team and quite a year. You go to the memory bank now and say, ‘Wow, we had a pretty good hockey club,’ ” Gilmour recalled during a conference call after the announcement.

“The friendship we have to this day is a bond between Stanley Cup winners. I loved my time there. It was my second team and to go from a .500 hockey club to a team that wins the Presidents’ Trophy and then the Stanley Cup is quite an honour.”

Mark Howe, the son of legend Gordie Howe who had a stellar career of his own, and goalie Ed Belfour will also be inducted.

Lanny McDonald, Joe Mullen and Al MacInnis are the other players from that 1989 championship team to be in the Hall, as well as owners Harley Hotchkiss and Daryl “Doc” Seaman and GM Cliff Fletcher.

Nieuwendyk won three Stanley Cup titles — with the Flames in 1989, with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and with the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

The championship Stars team of ’99 boasted Belfour in net.

“It means a great deal, believe me, to have that familiarity and share a common bond,” Nieuwendyk said.

“You always look back to what it took to go all the way and win the Cup — all the pain and the sweat you went through to get there. I was fortunate to go through it with both those (Gilmour and Belfour).

“It’s a special class for me because I’m good friends with Eddie and Dougie. They were great teammates. I didn’t play with Mark, but Mark’s hockey card was hard to collect when we were kids. It’s special to go through with him, as well.”

Nieuwendyk, who is now GM of the Stars, left the Flames amidst a contract dispute in the 1995-96 season, but those feelings have long disappeared.

“(Our Stanley Cup with the Flames) started with (former part-owner) Harley Hotchkiss,” Nieuwendyk said.

“We’re all saddened by the news (of the death of Hotchkiss) this week, but Harley was one of those gentlemen who really made everything go in Calgary. He treated us all like family. The atmosphere for me to start my NHL career —

I couldn’t ask for a better situation with the veterans we had and the type of ownership that we had and the leadership we had of Cliff Fletcher, as well.

“It was a special group of guys. A lot of terrific memories.”

Nieuwendyk was the Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year after bursting on the scene in the 1987-88 season and scoring 51 goals.

He finished his career with 564 goals and 1,126 points playing for the Flames, the Stars, the Devils, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers.

Gilmour, who has the distinction of scoring the winning goal to claim both Memorial Cup and Stanley Cup championships, joined the Flames from the St. Louis Blues just prior to the championship season.

He also played for the Devils, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Buffalo Sabres and the Montreal Canadiens before retiring with 1,414 regular season points plus another 188 points in 182 playoff games.

Just like he deftly avoided checkers, Gilmour skirted if he considered himself to be more a Toronto Maple Leaf or a Calgary Flame.

“Winning a Stanley Cup, it’s a big honour, and you’re always part of that hockey club,” said Gilmour, who is now GM of the OHL Kingston Frontenacs.

“At the same time, I’m born in this (Toronto) area, and my heart, as you move on, goes to the team you’re with.

“All the teams I enjoyed, but the most success I had as a player, as far as point production, would have been in Toronto.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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