There will be a distinctly Canadian flavour when the Class of 2023 goes
into the Hockey Hall of Fame this fall.
Of the seven names announced Wednesday, five have a Canadian connection –
Caroline Ouellette, Pierre Turgeon and Mike Vernon will be enshrined in the
player category, while Ken Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix will go in as
A closer look at the inductees…
Caroline Ouellette is one of the most decorated players in
international women’s hockey history, winning four Olympic gold medals and
six golds at the IIHF Women’s World Championship during a 20-year career
with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
The Montreal native recorded 242 points (87-155—242) in 220 games, ranking
third in all-time Team Canada scoring. She finished her Olympic career in
style, wearing the ‘C’ as Canada topped the podium at Sochi 2014. Ouellette
was at her best on the game’s biggest stage, finishing with 26 points
(9-17—26) in 20 Olympic games.
In addition to her Team Canada exploits, Ouellette won four Clarkson Cup
championships with the Canadiennes/Stars de Montréal in the Canadian Women’s
Hockey League (CWHL), claiming CWHL MVP honours in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Pierre Turgeon made just a single appearance for Team
Canada, scoring three goals in six games at the 1987 IIHF World Junior
He recorded 1,327 points (515-812—1,327) during a 19-year NHL career with
six teams – Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Montreal, St. Louis, Dallas
and Colorado – winning the Lady Byng Trophy in 1992-93.
Mike Vernon had a pair of experiences in the Maple Leaf,
backstopping Canada’s National Junior Team to bronze at the 1983 IIHF World
Junior Championship before winning silver with Canada’s National Men’s Team
at the 1991 IIHF World Championship.
The Calgary product appeared in six games across his two appearances,
posting a 2-2 record with a 3.78 goals-against average.
During a 19-year NHL career spent with Calgary, Detroit, San Jose and
Florida, Vernon fashioned a 2.98 GAA and .889 save percentage across 782
games, winning Stanley Cups with the Flames (1989) and Red Wings (1997) and
earning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1997.
Ken Hitchcock was a familiar sight behind the Team Canada
bench in the 2000s, serving as an assistant coach at four Olympics (2002,
2006, 2010, 2014), winning three gold medals. He was Canada’s head coach at
the IIHF World Championship in 2008 (silver) and 2011, was an assistant at
Worlds in 2002 and helped Canada to a World Cup title in 2004.
He got his first taste of international hockey as an assistant at the 1988
IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold.
The Edmonton native coached the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999 and
won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year with the St. Louis Blues
in 2011-12, highlights of a 23-year head coaching journey that included 849
wins – fourth in NHL history – with five teams (Dallas, Philadelphia,
Columbus, St. Louis, Edmonton).
Pierre Lacroix, who passed away in 2020 and will be
inducted posthumously, spent 20 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche
(including one with the Quebec Nordiques before the franchise relocated to
Denver in 1995) as general manager and then president, building a team that
won Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2001.
The quintet will officially be inducted on Nov. 13 at the Hockey Hall of
Fame in Toronto, joined by fellow inductees Tom Barrasso and Henrik