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Numminen Picked for IIHF Hall of Fame's Class of 2013

Monday, 11.26.2012 / 2:10 PM / Features
NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame announced its 2013 class Friday. Among the five inductees in the player category are four former NHL stars: Peter Forsberg, Paul Henderson, Teppo Numminen and Mats Sundin.

The six-person class, which includes player Danielle Goyette and builder Jan-Ake Edvinsson, will be inducted May 19, 2013, the day of the gold medal at the 77th IIHF World Championships in Stockholm.

Teppo Numminen. Photo by Norm Hall.

Numminen may be the best international defenseman of the modern era; he's certainly one of the most consistent. During an NHL career in which he amassed more games than any other European player (1,372) – a mark since surpassed by Nicklas Lidstrom – Numminen scored 117 goals, 520 assists and was a career plus-56.

Numminen was a staple of his team’s blue line during 20 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres, and was equally an integral part of Finland’s national team across two decades. Part of 12 top-level competitions, Numminen won three Olympic medals, including Finland’s first, a silver at Calgary 1988. Numminen will make up the first father-son inductees in IIHF history. His father, Kalevi, was inducted in 2011.

Few players enjoyed as much success both in the NHL and international competition as Forsberg. The Swede won two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals and two World Championships, making him the only Swede to twice be a member of the “Triple Gold Club.”

During 13 full seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators, Forsberg was one of the most complete players of his generation, matching a bruising style with premier offensive skills.

Forsberg stands fourth in NHL history in assists-per-game (.898) and eighth in points-per-game (1.25). He won the Calder Trophy in 1995 and the Art Ross and Hart Memorial trophies in 2003. But Forsberg shone brightest in the postseason, where he led the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. His name is etched into the record books in almost every offensive playoff category, and the Avalanche retired his No. 21 jersey before their 2011-12 home opener.

It’s been a good month for fellow Swede Mats Sundin. After being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 as part of its class of 2012, Sundin got his international due Friday with the IIHF’s announcement.

Teppo Numminen. Photo by Getty Images.

Sundin, whose savvy offensive skills belied his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame, excelled during 18 NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks. Sundin was a prolific scorer who intimidated opponents with his size before displaying enviable puck-handling and skating ability.

The only Swede to score 500 goals in the NHL, and the first to score 1,000 points – he finished with 564 and 1,349, respectively – Sundin is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ all-time leader in goals (420) and points (984).

Sundin also excelled internationally for Sweden, where he won four gold medals, once in the Olympics as well as three World Championships.

Paul Henderson is best remembered today for his heroics for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, in which the forward scored three game-winning goals to help defeat the Soviet Union. Henderson also enjoyed 13 NHL seasons with the the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring 236 goals and 241 assists for 477 points.

Henderson helped Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final in 1964 and 1966, but his best individual seasons came in Toronto, where he had a career-high in goals (38) in 1971-72.

Goyette, a women's hockey star for Canada, also was named in the player category. Goyette competed in three Olympics and nine IIHF Women’s World Championships, where she averaged a point-and-a-half per game and won gold seven times.

Edvinsson is credited as the architect of the modern IIHF. As the Federation’s General Secretary for 21 years, Edvinsson oversaw day-to-day operations from 1986-2006, transforming it from a small operation to one that exerted global influence on the game of hockey.

Broadcaster Gord Miller was awarded the Paul Loicq Trophy, and the 1954 Soviet national team won the Milestone Trophy.

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