So how did you enjoy your Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Day, Kevin Lowe and Ken Holland?
“I went for a walk with my wife here in Vernon,” said Holland, the Edmonton Oilers general manager who made it in to the hallowed hall as a result of his career body of work with the Detroit Red Wings.
As for Lowe, the first NHL Oilers player ever drafted: “Every time I thought about it being Induction Day, I reminded myself how fortunate I was.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of events being postponed or cancelled.
But the annual November induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame was a different bit of business that saw Lowe, Holland, Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Doug Wilson and Kim St.-Pierre — the Class of 2020 that became the Class of 2021 — spend the last couple of weeks making the adjustment to accepting.
For both Lowe and Holland, the wait was so long to get in that having to wait another year to actually experience the Hall of Fame Weekend and ceremony sort of seems par for the course.
And in the case of Lowe, the stay-at-home defenceman who completed Edmonton’s core Group of Seven — along with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey and Glenn Anderson — the wait to see his number raised to the roof is likely going to take even longer.
The ceremony, a member of the Oilers executive confirmed, won’t be held until the pandemic passes and all the fans return to the stands of Rogers Place.
Once you get your head wrapped around all that, it’s a pretty easy thing to embrace.
“The cool thing, I guess, is that we get to be the Hall of Fame Class for two years,” said Lowe. “They decided not to put in a 2021 class. They’re going to skip a year. They made the decision that our class will go in next November. They’d talked about putting two classes together and I think they just decided it would be too much to have that many all at once. So that made us a unique class because we’ll actually be the class for two years.”
Now that they got past the Induction Day with no induction, it’s not that difficult to be OK with it, said Lowe who laughed at my suggestion he had to wait so long to get in that what’s another year to wait to actually get in.
“Exactly,” he said. “It’s taking this long to sink in.”
So, no, there has been no ceremony, he hasn’t received his Hockey Hall of Fame blazer or ring or given his speech. But it’s been a good thing, too.
“In some ways, it’s been great that it’s taken this long. It’s something to enjoy more in the later stages of your life. Also, my kids are a lot older so they have a better appreciation. It’s still hard to believe and I haven’t even started working on my speech yet. I’m going to need the extra year.
“It took me weeks to get back to everybody who sent messages of congratulations. I forget the number, between emails, text messages and voice mails. There were so many guys I wanted to get back to that I didn’t really know, like a Mark Howe or an Igor Larionov. Getting back to all those people has made it that much more enjoyable.”
For Holland, he said the Hockey Hall of Fame did one thing before everything else that will be involved in the induction weekend that will now be next year, which made it feel real.
“They unveiled the plaque to my wife and I. They did it virtual about a week to 10 days ago,” he said. “For me it’s been a lifetime achievement to get that and what happens next November will be mostly a chance to celebrate with my family and people that have really been special and had a lot of impact in my career.
“I’ve got the date for next year and I’m really looking forward to celebrating the night before with a party for my family and friends. We’ll do it up right but it will be a year from now.”
Holland said he’s been to enough induction nights to know what’s involved.
“A lot of the Red Wings went in. Mike Ilitch, Steve Yzerman, Dominik Hasek, Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Igor Larionov, Jim Devellano … and it’s a wonderful night. Obviously, there are the speeches and everything but so many of the people who are in the Hall come there every year for that weekend.
“I can’t wait, but the way everything is in the world right now, I’m quite happy that we’re going to wait and be able to do it right like they always do it.”
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