Henrik Lundqvist tops goalie-heavy Hockey Hall of Fame class set for induction Monday

TORONTO (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist knew the call — if it was indeed coming — would light up his phone in the early evening.

The former New York Rangers goalie was home in Sweden. The Hockey Hall of Fame’s selection committee was busy in Toronto paring down its 2023 list.

Lundqvist eventually saw a number he didn’t recognize.

The only problem? It read “Spain.”

“It just didn’t make sense with the caller ID,” Lundqvist recalled thinking back in June.

Still, he decided to answer. Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald was on the other end.

The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top netminder headlines the class set to be inducted Monday night.

“Very humbling,” Lundqvist said Friday at the ring ceremony. “A great feeling when you’re walking away from the game.”

He will be joined by Mike Vernon, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Turgeon and Caroline Ouellette as part of a goalie-heavy player category. Former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock and the late Pierre Lacroix, who was both an agent and executive, will go in as builders.

A star netminder in the league for 15 seasons, Lundqvist was selected in his first year of eligibility. He's sixth in NHL history in wins (459), ninth in games (887) and 17th in shutouts (64).

Those 459 victories are the most by a European goalie. The first Swedish goaltender to be inducted, Lundqvist won 61 more times in the playoffs before his career ended in 2020 because of a heart condition.

Selected in the seventh round by New York at the 2000 NHL draft, he backstopped the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup final. He won Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006.

“This is kind of the last hurrah,” Lundqvist said. “Extremely proud and grateful.”

Vernon won the Cup with his hometown Calgary Flames in 1989 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 — adding the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP with that second title.

Barrasso won both the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and the Vezina during a magical 1983-84 season with the Buffalo Sabres out of high school as a phenom from the Boston area. He won titles with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992.

Turgeon had 515 goals and 812 assists in 19 NHL seasons. The former New York Islanders star was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens in the team’s final season at the Montreal Forum.

Hitchcock, fourth on the NHL victories list with 849, won the Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 in a 22-season career behind NHL benches.

Lacroix, who died in December 2020 at age 72, was an agent before being named general manager of the Quebec Nordiques in 1994. He moved with the franchise when it relocated to Colorado.

Ouellette won four Olympic gold medals with Canada’s women’s team.