Friday, July 17, 2009

Hockey Hall of Fame Part Two: Awards and history in every corner!


Just a few weeks back, I did a write-up on the tremendous array of Montreal Canadiens exhibits that I discovered during my visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Clearly there is much more to behold.

Before you even have to pay admission, I found myself in the entrance foyer admiring the huge Wall of Pucks, Mask Columns and the New Acquisitions display that offers a sneak peak at the newest additions to the Hall.

P1050090 A small sampling in the “New Aquisitions” display in the entrance foyer

You then pay your admission and immediately get drawn to the nine foot statues of Fred “Cyclone” Taylor and Ken Dryden that guard the NHL Zone and NHL Legends area.

The Canadiens Centennial Exhibit occupies the centre of the NHL Zone but the perimeter area hosts a variety of exhibits including features on, most notably, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr.

The newest inductees are also featured, as well as some of the great moments in hockey are featured.

P1050295 The Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr exhibits

P1050213Current NHL hockey is also featured in the NHL Today area that offers a cabinet area for each of the current NHL divisions, ensuring that even recent events by current players are being chronicled.

The NHL Retro area highlights defunct NHL teams as well as the early leagues pre-NHL and defunct teams and leagues.



Defunct teams and leagues (including the WHA)

P1050172 History buffs will enjoy perusing through the pre-NHL displays

The NHL Milestones area highlights great the greatest moments in NHL history, including Wayne Gretzky’s 802nd career goal.

P1050109 The net, puck, stick and gloves from Gretzky’s 802nd goal

The Stanley Cup Dynasty are encapsulates the greatest dynasties in NHL history. I don’t need to tell you which ones drew my attention.

I was even amazed to see that trainers in the NHL are honored for their service by the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society (PHATS) with an area honoring 16 former trainers to date, including the Canadiens’ Eddy Palchuk.


I’m off into the Panasonic Hometown Hockey area, where each of the 30 NHL teams has a cabinet with a brief team history and mention of their minor league affiliates.

You also find a collection of hardware awarded to different leagues (past and present). On display are the Allan Cup, Memorial Cup, Calder Cup and Avco Cup to name a few.



Memorial Cup (top) and Calder Cup displays

Interactive display consoles are about where users could find a player by name, team or town.

In the heart of this area is the most popular of the interactive areas, the NHLPA Be A Player Zone.

Here fans of all ages can see if they can stop a Wayne Gretzky slapshot or get a goal past Ed Belfour on lifesize simulators.

I went four for five on the All-Star level between the pipes.  No flash photos were allowed as to not offset the sensors so you’ll have to take my word.

Off into the corner, the Upper Deck Collectors corner offers a tremendous display of hockey cards and memorabilia.

P1050139 P1050140Cards depiciting the Conn Smythe Trophy Winners (some rookie cards) P1050164 P1050163

2K Sports even had a zone where fans could try their hand at NHL 2K9.


In back, a huge wall chronicled the history of broadcasting in hockey.


I took a video of it and it is quite impressive. It also includes an interactive Broadcast Museum where you can look back at historical broadcast clips.

Upstairs is the TSN/RDS area. Here fans can recreate a variety of momentous goals in hockey history. The ‘72 Henderson seemed to be the one of choice.


There’s also a TSN Production area, where fans can create their own highlight reel and play the role of TSN director/producer.

Back downstairs to and I made my way back across the Hall and up the stairs to the Great Hall is located.

I snapped a shot of this large shot of the Penguins Cup winning team on the way up the stairs.


This is the area where the Stanley Cup, Hart Trophy, Art Ross, Vezina, etc. are showcased as well as the numerous plaques that honor the members of the Hall.

Off to one side is Lord Stanley’s vault, which houses the original Stanley Cup, retired bands and other artifacts.


  In the center if the Great Hall is the Stanley Cup itself.


P1050246 P1050248

The Hart and Conn Smythe Trophies

The NHL Awards had just concluded a few days prior to my visit, so the signs next to the individual awards had yet to be updated.

P1050259 P1050249

The Selke and Vezina Trophies

I worked my way over to the huge walls that adorn the names of the players and builders of this great game. Spotting familiar faces as I worked my way around.

One area has blanked spaces for future members. A man and his son were looking through the names. “Who is going there?,”the boy asked. His dad was unsure and I spoke up as I pointed to four blank spaces, “Steve Yzerman, Brain Leetch, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.”

Three days later, the Hall of Fame confirmed my predictions.



IN one corner of the Great Hall is a book signed by the members if the Hall of Fame. It’s a thick one too. Encased in glass it would be a thrill to one day get a chance to turn through the pages.


For those who need to sit and rest there feet while touring the Hall, you can relax in the wing-backed chairs of the Members Lounge.

If that doesn’t relax you, the Esso Theatre runs a rotation of archival video and film footage to sit and enjoy or you can visit the Hartland Molson Theatre, which was running The 2008 Cup Final edition of the film The Stanley Cup Odyssey on my visit.


If there’s one thing I cannot stress enough if you visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, is to look everywhere; up, down over your shoulder left and right.

There’s so much to see and you don’t want to miss a thing, like this mural of a vintage hockey game below that was tucked in a corner.

Plan for lots of time too, and enjoy it!


I’ve added the two other photo albums of pics that I took on on these two links:

Album One (Stanley Cup and trophies)

Album Two (Everything Else)

Did I miss anything on here? International Hockey maybe? That my readers is an installment on it’s own that will be up in another week or so.

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