Thursday, November 5, 2009
On this date in 2005, the Toronto Maple Leafs faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game, held annually at the Air Canada Centre in conjunction with the induction ceremonies at the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto.
Beginning in 1999, a Maple Leafs home game is scheduled to coincide with the Hall of Fame weekend with both teams wearing a special patch on their jerseys for the occasion, but the game is only a small part of the celebrations.
In 2005, the festivities kicked off Friday, November 4th with all guests at the Hall of Fame getting a chance to win prizes and a limited edition poster of the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning plus a Tampa Bay Lightning autograph signing to coincide with the poster giveaway.
Saturday, November 5th included appearances by Michel Goulet, Lanny McDonald, Peter Stastny and Borje Salming and a chance to be photographed with them along side the Stanley Cup followed by the Hockey Hall of Fame Game that evening between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sunday would see each guest receive a limited edition 2005 inductee print, with the first 500 being signed, an Inductee Fan Forum with a inductees Cam Neely, former president of Hockey Canada Murray Costello and Slava Fetisov, a former teammate of inductee the late Valeri Kharlamov, 11 time Russian Champion, 8 time World Champion and 2 time Olympic Gold Medal winner who died prematurely in a car accident in 1981 at age 33. Kharlamov was voted one of only six players on the IIHF Team of the Century in 2008.
The Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic Game was then played at Air Canada Centre, featuring Cam Neely, Alexander Kharlamov, son of Valeri, Dale Hawerchuk, Paul Henderson, Valeri Kamensky, Lanny McDonald, Larry Murphy, Steve Shutt, Billy Smith, Bryan Trottier, Alexander Yakushev plus others.
The 2005 Induction Celebration wrapped up the festivities on Monday, November 7th and featured a live broadcast on TSN.
As for the Hockey Hall of Fame Game on Saturday, it featured the return of Mats Sundin to the Maple Leafs lineup after missing a month with after being hit in the face during the Maple Leafs season opener back on October 5th and suffering a fractured orbital bone which caused him to miss 12 games.
Jeff O'Neill opened the scoring on an assist from Sundin, his first point of the season, at 10:40 of the first period on the power play, followed by Darcy Tucker adding another power play goal for Toronto from Eric Lindros less than half a minute before the end of the period.
Evgeny Artyukhin pulled Tampa Bay back to within one at 3:52 of the second before Sundin scored from O'Neill at 13:17.
Alexander Steen followed with an unassisted goal for the Maple Leafs three minutes later to give Toronto a 4-1 lead after two periods.
The Lighting would stage a comeback in the third, with Dan Boyle, from Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier, scoring on a power play at 54 seconds. Lecavalier would add another power play goal for Tampa Bay from Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards at 9:01 to pull within one at 4-3. Toronto would then benefit from three late penalties to the Lightning and Chad Kilger would ice the game for Toronto with an empty net goal with three seconds remaining to give goaltender Ed Belfour the win by a final score of 5-3.
Today's featured jersey is a CCM 2005-06 Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin jersey which features the Hockey Hall of Fame Game patch as worn on the Maple Leafs alternate jerseys during the game on November 5th, 2005 in which Sundin had a goal and an assist after returning from an injury suffered in the first game of the season a month earlier.
Here is a news report on the five city Canada Russia Hall of Fame Legends Classic Game.
Next up is Cam Neely's indcution speech, followed by Murray Costello's speech.
Finally today, a look at the other 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee, Valeri Kharlamov.
Dasherboard: This year's Hockey Hall of Fame Game will take place this Saturday, November 7, and will see the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings at 7 PM.
There is an autograph signing with the Red Wings on Friday, November 6th.
Saturday features friend of Third String Goalie Phil Pritchard, "The Keeper of the Cup" presenting "Tales of the Cup", a behind-the-scenes look at stories and pictures of the Stanley Cup and guest appearances from Bobby Hull and Ted Lindsay plus an opportunity for autographs afterwards in the afternoon prior to the Hall of Fame Game.
Sunday sees visitors to the Hall of Fame receiving the 2009 Inductee Poster, with the first 500 being autographed, the 2009 Inductee Fan Forum and the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game which pits Canada Legends against World Legends, which features 17 Hall of Fame members taking part among the participants.
Monday sees the 2009 Induction Ceremony. Due to the circumstances surrounding the 2004-05 NHL Lockout, an extraordinary group of players all became eligible at the same time and this year's Inductees may be the single greatest group ever, with Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitallie and Steve Yzerman in the Player Category and Lou Lamoriello in the Builder Category being honored.