Wickenheiser leads Hockey Hall of Fame class

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There's only one real lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2019, and she is one of the most decorated athletes in Canadian history.

Canadian women's star Hayley Wickenheiser was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.

Wickenheiser headlines the 2019 class announced Tuesday that includes former NHL players Sergei Zubov and Guy Carbonneau, Czech hockey star Vaclav Nedomansky and builders Jim Rutherford and Jerry York.

Wickenheiser on Nov. 18 will be the seventh woman to go into the hall, joining Canadians Angela James, Geraldine Heaney, Danielle Goyette and Jayna Hefford and Americans Cammi Granato and Angela Ruggiero.

"It is richly deserved that she is one of the newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame,'' chairman Lanny McDonald said. ``When you win seven world championships as one of the key players and captain and when you win four Olympic gold medals, have a storied career both on the women's side and play on the men's side in Finland, that should tell you in itself where she was looked upon and revered by the rest of the hockey world.''

In 79 international games over 21 seasons, Wickenheiser recorded 58 goals and 88 assists for 146 points. She won four Olympic gold medals, seven world championship golds, one Olympic silver and six world championship silvers.

Wickenheiser won three Women's World Hockey League titles and a Canadian Women's Hockey League title. She was invited by the Philadelphia Flyers to training camp in 1998 after the Nagano Olympics, and is currently assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Zubov put up 888 points in 1,232 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers and won the Stanley Cup twice. The Russian defenseman also won the 1992 Olympic gold medal and 1989 world junior gold medal.

"Deep down in my heart I am so glad to receive this honor,'' said Zubov. "It has been my pleasure to have been involved in hockey all of my life.''

Carbonneau was a teammate of Zubov's on the 1999 NHL champion Stars and also won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 and 1993. He's a three-time Selke Trophy winner as the league's best defensive forward.

Nedomansky helped Czechoslovakia earn the 1968 Olympic silver medal and win the 1972 world championships. He was the first player to defect from the other side of the Iron Curtain, started in the World Hockey Association and went on to record 278 points in 421 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Rangers.

Rutherford, a longtime general manager of Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, built teams that won the Cup in 2006, 2016 and 2017.

"I started my career in Beeton, 50 miles north of the Hall of Fame, never dreaming that I would once be in it,'' said Rutherford. "I've traveled lots of miles in hockey and met so many great people along the way.''

York coached Bowling Green and Boston College to five national titles and has the most wins of any active NCAA Division I men's hockey coach. He said he was flabbergasted by his election to the Hall.

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