"Winning the Stanley Cup in Montreal and having my jersey retired in Chicago were (pinnacles) number one and number two. And now, the (Hockey) Hall of Fame," beamed Denis Savard when HHOF Insider Patrick Newman of Davenport, Iowa asked for the highlight of his career. "In our game, we have a term 'hat trick.' This is my hat trick!"
Denis Savard retired in June 1997 after having played seventeen explosive NHL seasons, split between the Chicago Blackhawks (twice), the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. Three years later, on June 15, 2000, the announcement was made that Denis Savard was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and formalized in the Induction Ceremony on November 13 that year.
"Getting in on my first year of eligibility was a surprise," Savard admitted. "It's not the greatest day of my life family things come first but for me to be part of that is the greatest thrill in sports in my life."
Savard collected 1,338 points in 1,196 regular season contests and another 175 points during 169 playoff games. Few of Savard's points came by any pedestrian means, most highlight reel plays involving 'Savardian spinaramas,' nifty dekes and sensational stickhandling. Denis eclipsed the 100-point plateau five times and recorded nine consecutive seasons bettering 80 points; all with the Chicago Blackhawks. Denis was only the fifth Blackhawk to be honoured through having his number retired, joining Glenn Hall (#1), Bobby Hull (#9), Stan Mikita (#21) and Tony Esposito (#35).
Joining Savard as newly-inducted Honoured Members in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000 were Joey Mullen and Builder Walter Bush.
In his speech, Denis thanked some very special people who contributed to his outstanding career. "My teammates throughout my career our game is a team game and you need the help of your teammates and they've always been there for me and I want to thank them very much. To all my coaches through the course of my career, for helping me out, motivating me every night to become a better player, thank you very much."
Savard concludes, stating, "Being selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame is something I'll cherish forever. The Hockey Hall of Fame is the ultimate for any hockey player. It's something that's going to stay there forever. When I have grandkids and they have their own kids, they'll be able to go there and see it. For me, to be part of that is the greatest thrill in sports in my life!"
Kevin Shea is the Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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