The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted this year’s class on Nov. 8. Among the dignitaries are Detroit Red Wings executive Jim Devallano, the late Daryl “Doc” Seaman and Cammi Granato and Angela James.
A good looking list to be sure.
But then there is Dino Ciccarelli.
Really? Ciccarelli? After nine years of eligibility, it seems he will sneak his way into the Hall. As is the case with the NHL, it tries to celebrate all slightly above average performances by immortalizing that player’s career.
Ciccarelli is your prototypical good hockey player. Not great, just good. He banged in 608 goals, many of which were ugly tap-ins from two feet away.
The 1980s and the bulk of the 1990s was a time when point totals reached other stratospheres. As a player in his prime from this era, Ciccarelli’s numbers were average.
He cracked 100 points twice and never earned a piece of hardware. He retired averaging less than a point-per-game and never won a Stanley Cup.
Sorry, the conversation just ended. A Cup ring is a player’s Hall pass, among other things. It’s the proof you were a winner, a champion, a great player. You must couple this with a winning attitude on and off the ice.
Many hockey critics call Ciccarelli one of the greatest players to never win a Stanley Cup. This is also translated as one of the best losers, someone who couldn’t get it done in the clutch.
Ciccarelli’s off-ice behaviour didn’t exemplify himself, or the game. A less-than-memorable news day came in 1987 when he was arrested for indecent exposure. Classy.
In 1988, Ciccarelli used his stick as a weapon, attacking Maple Leafs’ defenseman Luke Richardson during a game. That led to an assault conviction, a fine and jail time — a first for an NHLer. He and three Washingon Capitals’ teammates were also involved in a rape accusation of a 17-year-old, but the grand jury declined to file charges.
If nobody is worthy of going in the Hall, don’t induct. It’s that simple. The NHL has a need to uphold its reputation that there are always players so great there would never be a dry year. Why? This has whittled the Hall down to nothing more than a who’s-the-best-player-now organization, not an only-legitimate-players-make-it-in group.
Until the Hall brass tighten the reins on who should be considered a legend and remembered forever, players like Ciccarelli will continue to be a detriment to this organization. Skip good players, induct the greats.