Yzerman, Hull lead 2009 Hall class
The selection committee announced on a conference call Tuesday it had elected the maximum four players this year. All were eligible for the first time.
New Jersey Devils president Lou Lamoriello was elected in the builder category.
Yzerman, who in summer 2006 retired after 22 seasons -- all with the Detroit Red Wings -- ranks sixth all-time in points with 1,755.
Yzerman, named captain at age 21, won the Stanley Cup three times, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
"Even now when I go back home in the summers, it's really something that's really important to Canadian hockey fans and Canadians in general that we were able to win that medal," said Yzerman, who is currently a vice president with the Red Wings as well as executive director of Team Canada, in charge of building the men's Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Hull's 741 goals rank third all-time. He played 19 years (1986-2006) with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. Hull received the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1991.
His father, Bobby, is already in the Hall, inducted in 1983.
"It is hard to put into words what this means to me, especially since I'm joining my father in the Hockey Hall of Fame," Hull said in a statement.
His 741 goals trail only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, and his 24 career playoff game-winning goals are tied with Gretzky for the most in NHL history. He scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Stars in the third overtime of Game 6 of the 1999 finals against the Buffalo Sabres.
Two of the newly elected Hall of Famers are among the top 8 goal-scorers in NHL history.
Hull was traveling Tuesday in his current job as the Stars' executive vice president during the announcement.
Leetch became the first American-born player to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994. He also twice won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.
Leetch, whose career spanned 18 seasons (1987-2006), is one of just five defensemen to have a 100-point season. He spent most of his career with the Rangers, finishing with short stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.
He and Hull played on the gold medal-winning 1996 U.S. World Cup team for which Lamoriello was the general manager.
"For sure, Brett and I were part of a group that were old enough to remember 1980 and to be spurred on that from a country standpoint," Leetch said.
Robitaille's 668 goals are the most by a left wing. He received the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 1987. He played 19 seasons, starting and ending with the Los Angeles Kings, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rangers and Red Wings in between.
Yzerman, Hull and Robitaille won a Stanley Cup together with the Red Wings in 2002.
"I think the biggest thing for me of having a guy like Stevie as a leader was the way he handled stuff around us," Robitaille said on a conference call. "We've got literally 20 big egos in the room. Everybody played a role on their teams for years, and they had to understand their roles and the common goal. I take that into the rest of my career and whatever else I do."
Lamoriello has served as the Devils' president since 1987 and has taken over twice as the team's coach, in 2005-06 and 2007. The Devils have won the Stanley Cup three times under his leadership.
A player must be retired for three seasons before becoming eligible to enter the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Nov. 9 in Toronto.
A candidate must receive at least 14 votes from the Hall's 18-member selection committee in order to be elected.
It already has been announced that Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for hockey journalism. John Davidson will be given the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a broadcaster.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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