MacInnis earns spot in Hall of Fame
Goalies cringed when they saw him hop over the boards. It comes down to two words, "the shot."
During his career Al MacInnis was acknowledged as possessing the hardest slapshot in the NHL, and although at one time he used it at every opportunity, MacInnis also employed the fear of his shot to set up plays, take an extra step, or unleash the blast of another drive.
And now MacInnis and his shot are going to the Hockey Hall of Fame. MacInnis, Mark Messier, Ron Francis and Scott Stevens are the 2007 inductees and will be honoured at a ceremony in November.
NHL executive Jim Gregory was voted in as a builder.
Born in 1963 in Port Hood, Nova Scotia, Al MacInnis was a member of a Memorial Cup Championship team in Kitchener before beginning his 23-year NHL career with Calgary and St. Louis.
A member of Calgary’s 1989 Stanley Cup winning team and seven-time First or Second Team NHL All-Star, he was also known for his slapshot – the winner of the NHL’s hardest shot competition a record seven times.
MacInnis also has the distinction of being the first-ever Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee from Nova Scotia.
“I grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup, but I never imagined this type of recognition,” said MacInnis. “To be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame with the greatest players in the world is truly an honour. ”
All four players were on the ballot for the first time. Other eligible players who didn't make it in included Adam Oates, Igor Larionov and Claude Lemieux.
The induction ceremony for the Hall, which allows a maximum of four players in each year, will be held Nov. 12.
The legend of the MacInnis shot began on January 17, 1984 when MacInnis was playing with Calgary in a game against St.Louis. On a line change, MacInnis wound up and fired a shot from outside the blueline that caught Blues goaltender Mike Liut on the mask, splitting it. Liut fell to the ice as the puck dribbled over the goal line. No one has taken Al MacInnis' shot for granted since and he won the hardest shot contest at the annual All-Star Game with almost perfect regularity.
Beginning his career as a Calgary Flame, MacInnis spent thirteen seasons in Alberta before moving to St.Louis. Besides a wicked shot from the blueline, Al MacInnis evolved into one of the finest defencemen in the NHL, earning the Norris Trophy in 1999, and has been selected as the NHL's First Team All-Star four times, and to the Second Team three times.
A Stanley Cup winner with the Flames in 1989, and the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs, MacInnis' career to the NHL began in 1980-81 as a member of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers. The Inverness, Nova Scotia native played three seasons with the Rangers and was the 15th overall selection of the Calgary Flames in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, and made his NHL debut with the Flames during his second season in Kitchener.
A Memorial Cup winner with the Rangers in 1982, MacInnis was named the OHL's Most Outstanding Defenceman in 1983 and was a two-time OHL First Team All-Star before playing his first full season with the Flames in 1983-84. Although he spent the early part of the year with the CHL's Colorado Flames, MacInnis played 51 games in his rookie season scoring 11 goals and 34 assists for 45 points.
At the end of the 2002-03 regular season MacInnis had climbed to 16th on the all-time games played list with 1,413 and 12th on the all-time assists list with 932. After coming off his best season offensively in over eight years in 2002-03, in which he tallied 68 points (16-52-68), MacInnis was limited to a mere three games in 2003-04 after suffering an eye injury.
Following a lock out year in 2004-05, MacInnis announced his retirement from the game of hockey in the summer of 2005.
MacInnis' international career has seen him represent Canada on numerous occasions including the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1990 World Championships.