Some years are tougher than others to nominate candidates for the NHL Hall of Fame. This year? Pretty easy.
Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan were all nominated, along with Fred Shero in the Builders category and Geraldine Heaney, just the third woman to be inducted.
This was the first year that Niedermayer was eligible since retiring from the Anaheim Ducks in 2010.
"Congratulations to Scott Niedermayer, undoubtedly one of the best players and winners of his generation," said Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli. "Scotty is a Hall of Fame player and person, one who exemplified class, character and determination to accompany his tremendous skill.”
Niedermayer spent five seasons as a Ducks, after his first 13 with the New Jersey Devils. He is the only player in hockey history to win every single major North American and world title that you can win: the Memorial Cup, World Junior championship, Stanley Cup (four times), World Championship, World Cup and Olympic gold medal (twice). He also won the Norris trophy for best defenseman in 2004 and went to the NHL All Star game six times.
After three Stanley Cups with New Jersey, his third coming at the expense of the Ducks and his brother, Rob, in 2003, Niedermayer signed with Anaheim.
Stanley Cup number four came in 2007, with Scott handing off the Cup to brother Rob.
"To be able to hand him the Stanley Cup was definitely a highlight of my career," said Niedermayer. "He played a long time, been close a couple times, and wasn’t able to pull it off. So, to do it alongside him was special, and probably something you’d never really dream of being able to do. A great memory that I’ll take with me forever for sure."
Niedermayer is still the all time leading defensive scorer for both the Ducks and the Devils.
Always an effortless skater, Niedermayer, who will be 40 in August, never seemed to break into a sweat or lost his breath. His conditioning was impeccable and enviable. He rarely lost his cool and was never overly verbose. More like E.F. Hutton – when he talked, people listened.
“Scott Niedermayer is a true champion, both on and off the ice," said Ducks GM Bob Murray. "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."
Niedermayer is technically the third Hall of Famer to have played for the Ducks, but both Jari Kurri and Adam Oates only played one season for Anaheim and neither retired as a Duck.
“I am so happy for Scotty!" said former teammate, Teemu Selanne. "He was one of the best players to ever play the game and deserves to join the legends of hockey in the Hall of Fame. It was an honor to be his teammate."
Guaranteed, whenever Selanne retires and is eligible for the Hall of Fame himself, he will be rejoining Niedermayer there.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for November 11 in Toronto.