by PuckStopsHere on 07/09/13 at 11:49 PM ET
There were five inductees to the Hall of Fame announced in 2013. Three male players inducted are Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan. For Chelios and Niedermayer it was their first year of eligibility and for Shanahan it was his second. Also inducted was female player Geraldine Heaney and former Philadelphia Flyer coach Fred Shero.
The male players are the three obvious choices this year. I think there is a backlog of other players who should be inducted and an opportunity was wasted by not adding a fourth player.
I am supportive of the idea that more female players should be inducted. Before this year there were only two in Angela James and Cammi Granato. Geraldine Heaney is a worthy inductee, although I am not certain she is the most worthy eligible female player. I suggest Danielle Goyette might be more deserving although both deserve induction.
As for Fred Shero, I am not sure what to make of builders in the Hall of Fame. Much of the group is the people who made poor decisions for the future of hockey in order to increase their profits. Also in the group are people who were GMs and coaches of top teams. The distinction between that and being the best GMs and coaches is one that I want to make that is instructive about how I feel about Fred Shero.
Shero was the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers when they won the Stanley Cup twice in the 1970s. It isn't obvious to me that he was ever the best coach in the NHL but he was successful in Philadelphia. Among current NHL coaches I would compare him perhaps to Joel Quenneville in terms of his overall coaching ability. Quenneville won two Stanley Cups in Chicago but few would seriously consider him to be among the best coaches in the league. A coach like Dave Tippett is clearly a better coach but he looks unlikely to ever win a Stanley Cup and as a result is probably less likely to ever be a hall of Fame inductee despite being a better coach.
To support my argument that he wasn't a great coach, we can look at his days with the New York Rangers that came after he left Philadelphia. The Rangers were a good team but they never really won big under Shero and there were stories of the team losing because they partied too hard. In 1981, he resigned as coach after his team had only won four of their first twenty games. He never coached again - although that was partly due to a bout with stomach cancer in 1983 which ended his attempts to get back into coaching.
I am not calling Shero a bad coach and given his success in Philadelphia, I am not surprised by his induction. The surprise is how long it took to happen. I am arguing that there are better coaches who will never make the Hall of Fame and that is the nature of the way builders have been selected.
This is a good Hall of Fame class. In the days to come I will write in depth posts about the Hall of Fame cases for Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan. The fact that I am nitpicking and not making strong arguments against the induction of the people selected and that the nitpicking is not about the male players inducted shows that the Hall of Fame committee did a good job this year.
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