On Monday, June 27, the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee will announce the next group of legends to be inducted with the game’s highest honour.
The Sedin twins Daniel and Henrik, along with goalie Roberto Luongo should be no-brainer, first-ballot choices. Beyond that, there is no shortage of candidates who are arguably long overdue for induction, as a result of their outstanding careers in women’s hockey.
Certainly, the achievements of Jennifer Botterill place the Winnipeg native at the top of the list. Botterill, winner of three Olympic gold medals from 2002-10, is the only two-time winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best women’s player in U.S. college hockey. She earned the honours in 2001 and 2003 while starring at Harvard University.
Botterill also has five world championship golds to her credit and was twice named the Most Valuable Player at that tournament. She is sixth in all-time scoring for Team Canada, registering 65 goals and 174 points in 184 career games.
It would also come as a surprise to no one if Caroline Ouellette were to get the nod into the Hall of Fame. She was not only a teammate on each of Botterill’s Olympic championship teams, but also added a fourth gold in Sochi in 2014. The feat has been matched only by Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, both of whom are HHOF Honoured Members.
Perhaps not coincidentally, only Wickenheiser and Hefford have scored more points than Ouellette while playing for Team Canada. “Caro”, as she is affectionately nicknamed, compiled an astounding 87 goals and 242 points in 220 games wearing the maple leaf.
“So many great names, so many ladies have impacted the women’s hockey world; Jennifer Botterill, Caroline Ouellette, and so many others,” 2021 inductee Kim St-Pierre said when asked to predict her successors. “I’m excited to see who will get the call from (HHOF Chairman) Lanny McDonald, but I think they’ve all made a huge impact on the women’s game.”
Meanwhile, it’s quite plausible that one day Ouellette and Team USA alumna Julie Chu will become the first spouses in history to make their way into the Hall. Although Chu didn’t win a gold medal at the Olympics, she won five world championships to pad her resume, which also incudes the 2007 Patty Kazmaier Award.
Chu sits atop the National Collegiate Athletic Association all-time assist list for women’s hockey with 197 helpers in 129 games. Her 285 points with Harvard place her in a third-place tie with Jocelyne Lamoureux in all-time scoring.
Last November, St-Pierre gleefully accepted her plaque that cements her legacy among her fellow Quebecers and predecessors including Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur and Jacques Plante. She became the eighth woman and first female goaltender to be inducted in the Hall.
“Now it is our responsibility to make sure that women’s hockey and girl’s hockey will continue to grow. We’re all dreaming about a professional women’s hockey league, and now it’s time to make it a reality,” St-Pierre said as she proudly stood behind the lectern during her induction speech. “Hockey is for everyone. Write your own story and achieve your own version of greatness.”
Indeed Botterill, Ouellette and Chu have written their stories, and all are worthy of being fitted for a Hall of Fame blazer.