By John Vogl
Fans in Buffalo knew they were watching someone special whenever Dominik Hasek skated to the crease. They know now they were watching a Hockey Hall of Famer.
The Hall selected "The Dominator" for induction today in his first year of eligibility. There was little doubt the call would come.
"After I retired I really began to appreciate what the game did for me," Hasek said in a release issued by the Hall of Fame. "My goal was just to make the NHL, and achieving this recognition is far beyond what I could have imagined."
Hasek compiled some of the greatest goaltending statistics of all time, primarily while playing in Buffalo from 1992 to 2001. His stay included two Hart Trophies as NHL Most Valuable Player and six Vezina Trophies as top goaltender. Hasek was a six-time First Team All-Star and won a gold medal with the Czech Republic in the 1998 Olympic Games.
The Sabres inducted Hasek into their team Hall of Fame this year and will retire his No. 39 to the rafters next season.
Hasek held every major Sabres goaltending record when he forced a trade to Detroit in 2001, including 491 games and 234 victories. Ryan Miller has since eclipsed those marks, but Hasek is the runaway leader in shutouts with 55.
Hasek had a save percentage of .930 or better in five of his nine seasons with Buffalo, including a .937 in 1998-99 as he led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup final before losing to Dallas. He won two Cups with Detroit before retiring from the NHL in 2008 and the Kontinental Hockey League in 2011.
Chicago drafted Hasek in the 10th round of the 1989 Draft, and he came to Buffalo in August 1992 in one of the most lopsided trades in team history. The Sabres sent Stephane Beauregard and a fourth-round pick to the Blackhawks in exhange for the goalie who had a "Slinky for a spine."
Hasek will join former Sabres players Dick Duff, Grant Fuhr, Clark Gillies, Doug Gilmour, Dale Hawerchuk, Tim Horton, Pat LaFontaine and Gilbert Perreault in the Hall on Nov. 17 at the induction ceremony in Toronto.
Rob Blake, Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg joined Hasek on today's player induction list. Late coach Pat Burns was named as a builder, and Bill McCreary was elected as a referee.
taggedHockey Hall of Fame