Sunday, June 27, 2010

Media was wrong to critique Hall of Fame selections


The media blasted the Hockey Hall of Fame for leaving several names, along with these guys, on the outside looking in for 2010.

Now that the dust has settled, after last week’s Hockey Hall of Fame inductee announcement, I thought I would weigh in on a few things.

First off, warm congratulations to the three players (Dino Ciccarelli, Cammi Granato and Angela James), as well as the two Builder’s Category inductees (Jimmy Devellano and the late Daryl “Doc” Seaman). All five are well deserved inductees.

The big “slap in the face”, as many are calling it, was the Hall not inducting Pat Burns into the Builder’s category. Yes Pat Burns has the credentials to be in there, and yes his personal situation was a valid reason to get him inducted as well, but…

The factors that the Hall of Fame’s selection committee have to look at is the individual’s contribution to the game, and set aside sentiment. Had Burns had coaching numbers and Stanley Cup success similar to Scotty Bowman or Toe Blake, it would have been a no-brainer. Many of Burns’ friends and former colleagues are part of the selection committee, and I’m sure they found it hard to turn him down.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought what the public did to get Pat Burns into the Hall of Fame was magnificent. I’ll float this out to you though; When “Doc” Seaman was diagnosed with prostate cancer, where was his Facebook page to get him into the Hall before he passed away?

The Hall of Fame took it’s lumps from mainstream media, such as the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts who cited, “Yes, there have been screwups in baseball. But none this bad.”, and Sun Media’s Steve Simmon’s who referred to the 2010 class on Twitter as the “Worst Class Ever.”

I don’t know about you, but comments such as these have to be rather insulting to members of this year’s class and the Hall as a whole. Yes some of the previous classes have raised a few eyebrows, but there’s no need for the media to blast it.

There are four spots available for male players, but maybe the Hall decided to put some more focus on the women’s selections. This year marks the first chance for women to be inducted. Everyone knew this was going to happen, and honestly should have expected a miniscule number of male inductees in this year’s class.

Besides, can you imagine how long a ceremony honoring six players and two builders would run?

For argument’s sake, everyone knew that there would be a boatload of players available for selection, in the post Original Six expansion, especially those who benefitted from the Gretzky/Lemieux eras. The Hall of Fame can’t push them all in at once. Just give them time and in a few years, they will be caught up.

Next year the Hall can get back on track to inducting the likes of Adam Oates, Doug Gilmour and perhaps a long overdue Rogie Vachon.

There’s also still two more inductees possible in the media categories (writers and broadcasters). With the comments emitted this past week however, maybe the Foster Hewitt and Elmer Ferguson Awards will sit on the shelf this year.

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