TORONTO Chris Chelios and Scott Niedermayer, two defensemen with plenty of offensive flair, and punishing power forward Brendan Shanahan headlined the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2013 announced on Tuesday.
Combined Chelios (1,651), Niedermayer (1,263) and Shanahan (1,524) played in almost 5,000 games packing their trophy cases with Stanley Cups and individual honors.
Canadians Niedermayer and Shanahan are also members of hockey's Triple Gold Club having won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and world championship titles.
There was no Olympic gold for Chelios but the 11-time All-Star did play in four Winter Games for the United States winning silver in 2002 and helped the Americans to a surprise gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
One of the NHL's most durable players, Chelios survived 26 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers, winning three Stanley Cups (1986, 2002, 2008) and three Norris trophies as the league's top defenseman before ending his career in 2010 at the age of 48 becoming the second oldest player behind "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe to play in the NHL.
"It's a great honor to be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Chelios in a statement. "To have such a long career in the game has been fantastic for me and being named to the Hall is a huge recognition for what I was able to accomplish."
From the moment he strapped on a pair of skates everything Niedermayer touched seemed to turn to gold.
Over 18 seasons with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks Niedermayer won the Stanley Cup on four occasions (1995, 2000, 2003, 2007), captured the Norris Trophy in 2004 and a Conn Smythe in 2007 as the playoffs most valuable player.
Along with Olympic gold from 2002 and 2010 and a world championship crown in 2004, Niedermayer's collection of medals includes gold from the world junior championships (1991) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004).
Just one of 18 NHLers to score more than 600 goals, Shanahan sits 13th on the all-time list with 656 tallies winning three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.
Shanahan was also a feared and menacing presence on the ice amassing 2,489 penalties during 21 seasons split between the Devils, Wings, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers and New York Rangers.
The hard-nosed power forward continues to play a leading role in the NHL was the league's chief disciplinarian and director of player safety.
"I had dreams as a little kid, as most kids do in Canada, that anytime you're shooting on an empty net in a driveway or a hallway you dream of scoring Stanley Cup winning goals," said Shanahan, who was also part of Canada's gold medal teams at the 2002 Olympics and 1994 world championships. "But I don't think any of us had the nerve to dream about stuff like this."
The 2013 class also includes Canada's Geraldine Heaney, a seven-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist who becomes the third woman voted into the hockey shrine while the late coach Fred Shero, who led the Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 an 1975, will be inducted in the builders category.
Induction ceremonies will take place on November 11 in Toronto.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry)