Senators’ fans were longing to hear the name of former captain Daniel Alfredsson being summoned to the Hockey Hall of Fame Wednesday. However, for their beloved “Alfie,” it will be at least one more year of waiting to enter the hallowed Hall.
Another name not announced was the late-Bryan Murray. It was hopeful, the personable former Senators’ President, General Manager and head coach would gain entrance in the Hall’s Builder category due to his extraordinary life of pro hockey achievements.
But one former Ottawa player received the prestigious nod in his first year of eligibility – Marian Hossa becomes the first Senators’ drafted player to be enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hossa along with goaltender Dominik Hasek in 2014 are the only players who’ve donned a post-1992 Expansion Senators’ uniform to enter the Hall.
The 41-year old’s tale of the tape is lengthy. Hossa’s 525 career regular-season goals rank 35th among all NHL players. His 1134 points slot him 57th currently on the all-time list. The two-way forward participated in five All-Star games. Led the NHL twice in shorthanded markers. Represented his native Slovakia in four Olympic Games. And most of all Hossa was an integral piece in all three of the Chicago Black Hawks Stanley Cup wins during the 2010’s.
TSN analyst Craig Button lists Hossa as one of the game’s greatest 200-foot players.
“He was invested in every single area of the game. I believe he could’ve scored 600 goals if pushed himself further that way. I think he would’ve won Selke Trophies if pushed himself more to the defensive side of things. When you talk about a really balanced player that excelled all around. I think Marian Hossa is a poster boy for it.” Button said during TSN’s Hockey Hall of Fame broadcast.
“Brilliant in his ability to make a play, ability to score a goal, ability to deny an opportunity from the other team, and he was a big-time competitor. The other thing about Marian that often gets overlooked, he played at such a high level on such a consistent basis. He always played the same. It wasn’t about those peaks and valleys, he was exceptionally at a high level of play through and through,” Button explained.
Hossa’s time spent in Ottawa wasn’t long. seven seasons to be exact, but it was certainly memorable. Selected 12th overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft out of Dukla Trencin of the Slovak Extraliga, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound left-shot, right-wing dressed for seven games with the Senators in October 1997 before being returned to the Western League’s Portland Winter Hawks who owned his junior rights.
The youngster led the Winter Hawks in goals during the regular season (45) and playoffs (13) en route to a WHL championship. Hossa’s Winter Hawks also claimed the Memorial Cup in a victory over the Ontario League’s Guelph Storm. However, the burgeoning star suffered a serious knee injury in the Final.
The injury set him back a couple of months, but he was still able to finish runner-up to the Colorado Avalanche forward Chris Drury for the Calder Trophy as 1999 NHL Rookie of the Year.
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Hossa twice led the Senators in goals during his seven campaigns with the club (45 in 2002-03, 36 in 03-04) and points (80 in 02-03, 82 in 03-04).
He also led the team in points (16) during a memorable playoff run, which saw the Senators lose the 2003 Eastern Conference Final to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.
August 23, 2005, the same day thee popular Hossa agreed to a three-year, $18 million contract with Ottawa, he was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Dany Heatley and defenseman Greg de Vries.
Despite leaving Ottawa almost 15 years ago, Hossa currently ranks fourth among Senators’ all-time franchise goal leaders (188), eighth in assists (202), seventh in points (390).
He went on to become the first Thrashers’ player to notch 100 points. And later went to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and finally Chicago, where Hossa picked up the first of three Cup rings.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) June 25, 2020
Via conference call, Hossa told Full Press NHL, “The day has meant so much to me and my family. I didn’t think originally that I’d be part of this amazing group of players I was looking up to as a young kid – trying to make the National Hockey League. And obviously getting the chance to be drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the first round was the beginning of my career. It’s been unreal. It went so fast, now I’m here getting a phone call from the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
Displaying his fondness for his career with the Senators, Hossa noted, “I have nothing but great memories starting my career in the capital of Canada in Ottawa. I have great memories of getting a chance to play for (Senators’ head coach) Jacques Martin in my early days. We had good players like Daniel Alfredsson, Alexei Yashin, and other guys. I had an unbelievable seven years in Ottawa. And I had nothing but great memories.”