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Cannon Blasts: Hall of Fame Day

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What does Columbus have in common with each new Hall of Famer?

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, eight new people entered the NHL Hall of Fame and what a list it is.

It might be showing my age (for better or worse), but this is the first class where I’m pretty sure I can remember everyone (if not everyone, then most everyone) who was inducted.

I remember when Martin St. Louis was one of the few non-Thrashers I knew, mostly because he and the Lightning were so good and the Thrashers...weren’t.

The Devils were my second favorite team growing up and I went to a Thrashers game for my birthday where we lit him up for like five goals. That was fun.

Even though I don’t remember Willie O’Ree as a player, the hockey-obsessed fifth grader I was, I did a project on him during Black History Month at my school about him breaking the color barrier and if I hadn’t done that, I’m honestly not sure I’d know who he is.

The class as a whole is as follows, along with a little tidbit about how they relate to the Columbus Blue Jackets (if any).

  • Martin Brodeur - In 13 games against Columbus, Brodeur was 7-3-3 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.19 goals against average.
  • Jayna Hefford - Hefford was a women’s hockey great, winning four straight gold medals in the Olympics for our neighbors to the north (and a silver in Nagano, but you know that story). She is from the same hometown as one Scott Harrington - Kingston, Ontario.
  • Martin St. Louis - St. Louis’ Columbus connections go beyond just his stat line (in 19 games, St. Louis scored 18 points [10 goals, eight assists] and averaged 20:34 TOI) but he has a personal connection to a few Jackets as well. He was a player under John Tortorella and has trained with Cam Atkinson.
  • Alexander Yakushev - A USSR hockey great has little ties to the Blue Jackets. Artemi Panarin’s hometown of Korkino is a 23.5 hour drive to Yakushev’s of Moscow Oblast and Sergei Bobrovsky, who is from Novokuznetsk, is a 48-hour drive.
  • Gary Bettman - The man who needs no introduction. He was instrumental in pushing the league into non-traditional markets and one of the reasons the Blue Jackets exist to this day.
  • Willie O’Ree - The reach of O’Ree cannot be overstated when it came to diversifying a sport that, frankly, still isn’t incredibly diverse. Of course, the affects of his path have led to Seth Jones, Anthony Duclair, Evander Kane (my boy from Atlanta days) and countless others to join the league.
  • Joe Bowen - Bowen has called who knows how many Blue Jackets games since they entered the league, especially now that CBJ and the Leafs share a division. Fun fact: He was also the voice of the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League, which must have been a hell of a time since the NLL season is right dab in the middle of the NHL season (Jan-April for the regular season).
  • Larry Brooks - Much like Bowen, Brooks has covered his fair share of Blue Jackets games.

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