Former Centers Sakic, Sundin Headline Hockey Hall of Fame Class

Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin, former National Hockey League All-Stars and Olympic gold medalists, have been voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

They will be joined by Russian forward Pavel Bure, and Adam Oates, who today was named coach of the Washington Capitals. The selection committee voted today on the Class of 2012, which will be formally inducted into the Hall in Toronto on Nov. 12, according to an NHL statement.

Sakic, 42, had 1,641 career points, ninth on the NHL’s all-time list; two Stanley Cup titles; and an Olympic gold medal. He was named the playoff’s Most Valuable Player in 1996 when he captained the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup championship, and was named league MVP in 2001, when the team won its second title in Colorado.

“I’m extremely proud of the career I had,” Sakic said in an interview on NHL Network. “I had a lot of help from a lot of different people, but after 20 years of playing in the league and to be honored like this and placed among the best who have ever played the game, it’s a very humbling day.”

A 13-time All-Star, Sakic spent his entire 20-year career with the Avalanche franchise, playing seven seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before they relocated to Denver. He won a gold medal with Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“You’re hoping to get the call and when you do, I was speechless for a bit,” Sakic said.

Sundin, a former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored 1,349 points in 1,346 games over 18 NHL seasons. He is the Maple Leafs’ career leader in points, goals, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and overtime goals, and captained Sweden to the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

‘Hockey Matters’

“Three years have passed since I retired and it makes me realize how privileged I was to play my entire career in Canada, where hockey really matters,” Sundin said in the statement. “Having my hobby and love for a sport become my livelihood really allowed me to live out my dream.”

Bure, 41, played 12 seasons before retiring due to a knee injury. The right wing averaged 37 goals per season as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, and led the league in goals during the 1993-94, 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons.

The 49-year-old Oates, eligible for induction since 2007, is sixth on the NHL’s all-time assists list with 1,079 in 1,337 games. A center who spent a majority of his career with Boston Bruins and Capitals, Oates led the NHL in assists three separate times, including the 2001-02 season, when he was 39.

Former players who were eligible but not inducted include Brendan Shanahan, Jeremy Roenick and Curtis Joseph.

Shanahan’s performance as the NHL’s head of discipline has drawn criticism from players and coaches for his strict interpretation of the rules and punishments that he has handed down. He won Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002, and is the only player in league history with more than 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes.

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