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Jim Rutherford to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

November 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

Jim Rutherford of Beeton will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

Rutherford has known about the induction since June 25 when Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame announced that six individuals, including Rutherford, had been elected to Hockey Hall of Fame Honoured Membership after a vote took at the annual meeting of the Selection Committee in Toronto.

“The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these hockey legends as Honoured Members,” said McDonald. “Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved.”

In the Builder Category, two individuals were elected – Rutherford and Jerry York.

The Hockey Hall of Fame had this to say about Rutherford: “Jim Rutherford was a first-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 1969 and after his playing career ended he embarked on a long and storied career in management. From his start with the Windsor Spitfires in 1984, Jim went on to the General Manager post with the Hartford franchise for 20 years, winning a Stanley Cup in Carolina in 2006. He currently holds the post of GM with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won Stanley Cups in 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 travelled lots of miles in hockey and met so many great people along the way.”

Jerry York, also in the Builder Category, began his NCAA coaching career at Clarkson University in 1972, moving to Bowling Green in 1979. In 15 years at Bowling Green his teams had six NCAA tournament berths, winning the title in 1984. He then moved to Boston College where he has won an additional four NCAA championships.

“I’m flabbergasted with this unexpected honour,” said York.  “I will cherish this special recognition.”

In the Player Category, four individuals were elected: 

• Guy Carbonneau: who played 13 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, winning the Selke Award as the NHL’S top defensive forward three times – in addition to Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993. He also played five seasons with the Dallas Stars, winning another Stanley Cup in 1999.

• Vaclav Nedomansky: who played 12 seasons professionally in Bratislava before becoming the first athlete from an Eastern European communist country to defect to North America to pursue a professional hockey career. He starred in the WHA with the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls before joining the Detroit Red Wings as a 33-year-old rookie in 1977.

• Hayley Wickenheiser: who has played professionally in both men’s and women’s hockey, won seven Women’s World Championship gold medals, as well as four Olympic gold medals in 21 seasons as a member of Canada’s national team. 

• Sergei Zubov: who joined the New York Rangers in 1992 after playing four seasons with the Moscow Red Army. A member of the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup team, Sergei also played 12 seasons with the Dallas Stars, winning a second Stanley Cup in 1999.

Beginning this season, the OHL’s annual Goaltender of the Year Award will be named in honour of Rutherford. A three-time Stanley Cup champion, former two-time OHL Executive of the Year (1993, 1994) and one of the game’s great builders, Rutherford got his managerial start with the Windsor Compuware Spitfires in 1984, building the franchise into an OHL Champion by 1988.

After overseeing a highly successful Detroit Jr. Red Wings program and serving as the OHL’s Chairman of the Board of Governors in 1993-94, Rutherford made the jump to the NHL where he’s been for the past 25 seasons.

A native of Beeton, Rutherford first hoisted the Stanley Cup as general manager of the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes and did so in back-to-back seasons as architect of the 2016 & 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rutherford’s decorated career also included 13 years as an NHL netminder between Detroit, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles from 1970–83. His junior career was spent with the OHA’s Aurora Tigers and Hamilton Red Wings before he joined the Montreal Jr. Canadiens to win the 1969 Memorial Cup.

The Jim Rutherford Goaltender of the Year Award is presented annually to the OHL netminder selected by member teams as the top goaltender in the League. The winner is the OHL’s nominee for the CHL Goaltender of the Year.

The 2019 Induction Celebration will be held on Monday, November 18 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. 


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