Hall Doors to Open for MacInnis
Friday, 06.29.2007 / 2:20 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues
|MacInnis ranks first all-time in scoring among Blues defenseman with 127 goals, 325 assists and 452 points.
The retired Blues defenseman and current Vice President of Hockey Operations was sitting in his St. Louis home with his son, Carson, when his phone rang to deliver the news that MacInnis had been selected as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
“I felt (home) was probably the best place to receive the news, good or bad,” MacInnis said. “You can cry either way, (and) there’s not many times you can get a 15-year-old to give you a hug these days.”
For a guy with hall of fame credentials, one would think he would have been a bit more prepared for Thursday’s announcement.
But not MacInnis.
Although he knew he would be eligible on this year’s ballot, he thought the actual selection process was still a few months away.
“Yesterday, we were having a meeting and then after the meeting, (John Davidson) said he was going to Toronto. After he left, I said to Larry (Pleau), ‘What’s going on in Toronto?’ That’s when I found out the voting was going to take place.”
MacInnis joins a 2007 Hall of Fame class that includes Mark Messier, Ron Francis and former Blues captain Scott Stevens. The official induction ceremony will take place November 12 in Toronto.
“I haven’t had enough time to let it sink in,” MacInnis said. “You don’t think of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a kid growing up. When you’re playing street hockey, you’re playing the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals, you score the winning goal and you carry the homemade Stanley Cup around the street. Those are the kind of things you dream of and think of. You never think about going into the Hockey Hall of Fame. You can’t imagine it, it’s just not real.”
For MacInnis, it’s real now, even if the news still hasn’t completely hit him. He is the first player from Nova Scotia to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame.
MacInnis played 13 seasons with the Flames before being traded to the Blues in 1994. He spent 10 seasons as a Blue before an eye injury forced him into an early retirement in 2005. Nonetheless, MacInnis ranks third all-time in scoring by a defenseman with 1,274 points (340 goals, 934 assists) in 1,416 games played.
And that’s why the honors and awards keep piling up.
A Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. The Stanley Cup itself. The Norris Trophy for the league’s best defenseman. An Olympic Gold medal with Team Canada. His No. 2 retired to the rafters at Scottrade Center. And now this.
“We would like to congratulate Al on this well-deserved honor of being selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame,” Davidson said in a release issued by the team. “We’re fortunate to have a true class act like Al as part of the Blues family.”
|MacInnis will be officially inducted in November with Mark Messier, Ron Francis and Scott Stevens.
“I don’t know if there’s another group of parents that sacrifice the way hockey parents do,” he said. “With the time, the money, the early morning practices and the cold rinks they spent their time in…(My parents) saw me play the first ten years of my career and I’m sure they would be very proud today.”
He said his wife, kids and teammates deserve some credit, too.
“I’m very fortunate to play with the players I’ve played with,” MacInnis added. “My family made a lot of sacrifices over the years when I was playing. On days like today, you reflect back and they all feel it was worth it, and that’s very gratifying. It’s a pretty cool day.”
When the MacInnis family travels to the Hockey Hall of Fame in November for the official induction ceremony, it won’t be the first time they’ve visited. MacInnis said on previous trips, his kids have only glanced at his name on the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup before gravitating towards the kids' games and skills competitions. He said his kids seemed a lot more interested in playing hockey rather than taking in the history.
But that was then. Now, their dad will be the center of attention in a place where only the best of the best are enshrined.
“The next time I go, it’ll be even more special,” he said.