When will women join legends?

STEVEN SANDOR, 24 HOURS TORONTO

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Over the next few seasons, there is going to be a traffic jam on the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Oilers legend Glenn Anderson and Red Wings and Russian hockey great Igor Larionov are going to the Hall this week; and voters' cards will be full with names like Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, Dave Andreychuk and Mike Richter on the ballot for 2009.

But the Hockey Hall of Fame is not an NHL-only club. Its mandate is to recognize all levels of hockey.

So, what will it take for a woman to get into the Hall?

"There are no rules on gender in the Hall of Fame," said HHOF spokesperson Kelly Masse. "A woman would be eligible."

And, there are some deserving candidates out there. Cassie Campbell, one of the most recognized faces in women's hockey is now eligible. Cammi Granato, who led the Americans to gold at the Nagano Olympics and is already in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, should be considered. Angela James and Geraldine Heaney were early stars of the Canadian hockey program.

Granato, Heaney and James were all voted to the International Ice Hockey Federation's Hall of Fame in 2008.

So when will Canada's institution follow suit?

"I wonder if we are going to need our own category," said Campbell. "You can't compare NHL players to what we do internationally. It's apples to oranges... (But) I do see the Hall of Fame opening its doors."

Campbell said the first step would be to get a female hockey legend onto the committee.

But, when the first plaque of a female is unveiled in the Great Hall, Campbell doesn't think she should be the one honoured.

"I think Heaney and Granato should get into the Hall first. Hayley (Wickenheiser) and myself got a lot of the headlines, but Geraldine went to two Olympics, she played at the first World Championships. Angela James was there, too. She didn't get to an Olympics, but that had more to do with her age, it was timing. Of course, if women do get into the Hall, ideally you would one day want to go in."


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