Niedermayer to enter Hall of Fame

Cranbrook native will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame along with four others at a ceremony in Toronto in November.

In his first year of eligibility

In his first year of eligibility

Scott Niedermayer joined hockey legends on Tuesday, when he was included in the 2013 class of Hockey Hall of Fame candidates in his first year of eligibility.

Joining Niedermayer was fellow players Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan. Fred Shero, a former player and coach, was included in the builder category and Geraldine Heaney, who enjoyed success on the international stage with the women’s national team, was also inducted.

The five will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Toronto in November.

The Cranbrook native has won at every level he’s played in, from major-junior to professional to international hockey. A four-time Stanley Cup champion, Niedermayer also has two Olympic gold medals, a World Championship, a World Cup, a Memorial Cup and World Junior title on his resume.

He won the James Norris Trophy as defenceman of the year in 2004 and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP when he won his fourth Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. That was a special championship for Niedermayer, as he won it alongside his brother, Rob, who joined the Ducks in 2003.

Scott Niedermayer was the third overall pick in the 1991 NHL Draft, and spent 18 seasons playing for the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.

Former teammate and defensive partner in New Jersey, Scott Stevens, said it was only a matter of time before Niedermayer got into the Hall of Fame.

“From the day he retired, there was no question in anyone’s mind in hockey that he would be a first ballot and be in the hockey hall of fame as soon as he reached that magic day—and that’s come,” said Stevens, in a statement on the NHL club’s website.

“It’s very exciting. He was an outstanding player, he won at every level and it was fun to be his teammate.”

Stevens, who is currently an assistant coach with the Devils, added he knew Niedermayer was a special player right from his first training camp with the Devils back in the 1990s.

“You pretty much knew from day one when he arrived at camp that he was going to be a special player and had some special gifts and talents that a lot of players just would never have, obviously his skating being the most notable,” Stevens continued. “He’s probably one of the best skaters I’ve ever seen play the game.”

Praise poured in from the other side of the U.S., as current Ducks general manager Bob Murray weighed in on Niedermayer’s Hall of Fame honour.

“Scott Niedermayer is a true champion, both on and off the ice,” said Murray, in a statement on Anaheim’s website. “He won at every level and did so with class and dignity. He was one of the great leaders of his generation, always putting the team first. There is no greater role model for young players today.”

In 1,263 regular season games, Niedermayer posted 172 goals and 740 career points. His post season record stands at 202 games played, with 25 goals and 98 points.

Niedermayer officially retired in 2010, but has remained with the Ducks organization, first working as a consultant to Murray before shifting to an assistant coaching role last January.