Henrik Lundqvist and Caroline Ouellette headline the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2023.
Lundqvist, a former star goaltender for the New York Rangers, got the nod in his first year of eligibility.
Ouellette, who won four Olympic gold medals with Canada’s women’s team, will enter after being passed over last year.
Also set to be inducted in the player category are two other former NHLer netminders in Tom Barrasso and Mike Vernon, while Pierre Turgeon also goes in as part of a seven-member class elected Wednesday.
“Growing up as a kid, thinking about players in the Hall of Fame, it’s such a big inspiration to me, why I started playing hockey,” Lundqvist said on a conference call with reporters and his fellow inductees. “Even thinking about Tom and Mike, I remember having posters on the wall of both of you guys.
“Really look forward to meet you.”
Former NHL head coach Ken Hitchcock and former agent/general manager Pierre Lacroix, who died in 2020, will go in as builders at the induction ceremony Nov. 13 in Toronto.
“My career started in minor hockey coaching kids and to reach this stage is almost overwhelming to me,” Hitchcock said. “When the call came today … I was in complete shock and not really ready for it.
“This is an unbelievable honour for a guy who started out just coaching kids.”
Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie in 2012, and ranks sixth in league history in wins (459), ninth in games played (887) and 17th in shutouts (64). The Swede’s 459 victories are the most by a European netminder.
He backstopped the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup final, and led New York to the Eastern Conference final in both 2012 and 2015.
Lundqvist also won Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006.
Ouellette is one of just three women’s hockey players — along with Hall of Famers and former Canadian teammates Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford — to win four or more Olympic gold medals.
The Montreal product, who wasn’t able to join Wednesday’s conference call, helped Canada top the podium at the Games in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Ouellette also won six world championships with the national team.
Eligible since 2006, Barrasso won both the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and the Vezina in 1984. A two-time Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he won 369 career games — third all-time among American-born goaltenders.
Turgeon, who retired in 2007, put up 515 goals and 812 assists for 1,327 points over his 19 NHL seasons.
“It has been a great journey and a privilege to be a part of that journey,” Turgeon said. “It’s crazy. I played hockey for a living. It’s great. And I still play.
“I still go out there twice a week because I love the game so much.”
Vernon won the Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP along with that second title.
“The game has meant a lot to me throughout my life,” he said. “I’m just flabbergasted.”
Hitchcock ranks fourth on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list with 849 and won the Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.
Lacroix, who died at age 72, started his career as a player agent before taking over as GM of the Quebec Nordiques.
He moved with the franchise to Colorado, and won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” said Lacroix’s son, Eric. “He’s been gone for a couple years.”