Sometimes Willie O’Ree’s contributions to hockey fly under the radar.
Former Boston Bruins defenseman Brian Leetch was officially announced today as part of the four-player class that will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this fall.
Leetch, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille will all be inducted in Toronto Nov. 9 in the Player Category, while New Jersey Devils CEO and President Lou Lamoriello will be inducted in the Builder Category.
A two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman and a Conn Smythe winner for the Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers in 1994, Leetch totaled more than 1,000 points in his career. He completed his 18-season career with Boston in 2005-06, when he skated in 61 games and posted 5-27-32 totals.
“It’s really been an overwhelming day to say the least,” Leetch said during an HHOF conference call. “I’m certainly humbled and excited and proud. … It’s just an amazing thing.”
Current-day Boston Bruins fans who are younger than 40 years old or have a weak grasp of history might be astonished when looking at Ken Hodge’s NHL career and realizing that he twice scored a career-high 105 points in a season and wasn’t in the Bruins’ top two in point production.
That tells you all need to know not only about Hodge’s abilities but also the greatness of those “Big, Bad Bruins” clubs that won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972 led by the likes of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk. Maybe a bit overshadowed during his nine seasons in black and gold, Hodge will get his due this week when he is part of the 8th Annual Tradition, which is The Sports Museum’s induction ceremony for its Hall of Fame.