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Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes Class of 2016

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The NHL welcomed three giants of the game and one of the winningest coaches of the past two decades into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night in Toronto.

Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, and Rogie Vachon entered as players, while the late Pat Quinn joined them in the Builder Category. Bob Verdi and Sam Rosen received recognition for their media contributions.

HHOF Class 2016Lindros and Makarov amassed five Olympic gold medals between them, the former with three. Lindros’ effect on the game reached outside the rink, though, and has since become an advocate for concussion awareness after dealing with multiple injuries throughout his 13-year career. That’s part of the reason it took seven tries to gain admission to the Hall. One argument against him was that he only played in 760 games; however, he did score 372 goals and amass 865 points in that span.

Vachon, a three-time NHL All-Star, spent 17 years as a goalie, winning three Stanley Cup championships. With 355 wins, he retired fifth all-time in the NHL.

It’s been nearly two years since Quinn passed, but he finally got his moment. The player-turned-coach has the fifth-most wins of any (684) in 20 years of coaching, and set NHL’s longest undefeated streak (35 games) while coaching the Flyers (1979-80).

Longtime New York Rangers broadcaster Sam Rosen, his iconic call of the Blueshirts’ 1994 Stanley Cup championship and all, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a “Media Honouree”, receiving the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

Chicago-based writer Bob Verdi received the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism. It’s an honor nearly 50 years in the making for Verdi, a versatile and sharp-witted writer who worked for the Tribune full time from 1967-97 and as a weekly columnist until 2009. He has written six books and was named Sportswriter of the Year in Illinois 19 times.

Congratulations to the class of 2016.

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