Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes four

Updated: June 29, 2011, 11:35 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Longtime Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars goalie Ed Belfour was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on his first try, it was announced on Tuesday.

He will enter the Hall with Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mark Howe.

The four former NHL stars were chosen by the hall's 18-member selection committee. The induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 14.

Belfour, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top goalie, posted 484 wins -- third on the NHL career list -- and 76 shutouts during a 17-year career during which he played for Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Toronto and Florida.

Belfour, whose distinctly decorated facemask earned him the nickname "Eddie the Eagle," won a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999. He also was the Calder Memorial Trophy winner in 1991 as the NHL's top rookie.

"It is hard to put into words what this means to me," Belfour said in a statement. "I would like to thank all of my teammates and people along the way who helped me achieve my hockey dreams."

Nieuwendyk, the current general manager of the Stars, won the Stanley Cup with three different teams and finished with 564 career goals. He helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. He also won the Calder Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup MVP (in 1999 with Dallas) and twice scored at least 50 goals.

"Every player does their best year after year and strives to play at a very high level," Nieuwendyk said. "I truly love the game and love to compete, and I'm pleased to be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Gilmour had 1,414 points in 20 seasons, won the Selke Trophy and a Stanley Cup in 1989. He captained both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Blackhawks and averaged more points in the playoffs than in the regular season.

[+] EnlargeEd Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk
Getty ImagesEd Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk, key cogs in the Dallas Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup champion team, were part of Tuesday's four-man 2011 Hall of Fame class.

"This is an overwhelming honor and one that makes me reflect back on the teammates and coaches I have had over years," Gilmour said. "Larry Mavety, who gave me a chance in Tier II hockey and Gord Wood who drafted me into Junior at Cornwall, are two people who were instrumental in helping me establish myself as a player."

Howe, one of the sons of Gordie Howe, had 1,246 points in 22 seasons and twice appeared in the Cup finals with the Flyers. He switched from forward to defense early in his career and was a runner up for the Norris Trophy three times. He also had three 20-goal seasons in the NHL.

"I was elated to have this dream come true given that it is a tremendous honor just to have my name mentioned with the upper echelon of hockey," Howe said. "To actually have my name in the Hall of Fame with my Dad will mean so much to my family."

"Mark Howe is the first Flyers defenseman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and rightfully so," Flyers founder Ed Snider said.

"When he played for the Flyers, he was the ultimate leader both on and off the ice."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.