Seven players who should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame

Danielle Goyette was the lone woman named to the HHOF this year, but we have some other players in mind.

Last week, the USHHOF announced its most recent class, with one glaring omission: there were no women. In fact, excluding the 1998 gold medallists, who were inducted, as a team, there are only two women total.

Earlier this week, the HHOF announced its class from 2017, and it inducted just one woman in this year’s class, Danielle Goyette.

The lack of women in HHOF is glaring, and there are dozens of notable candidates who should be inducted each year. We don’t have time to go through everyone who should make the cut (would that we could) but here are just a few of our top nominees.

Erin Whitten-Hamlen

Erin Whitten-Hamlen was an essential figure on the ice for USA Hockey prior to the 1998 women's team, but off the ice, she has done just as much and should be acknowledged in the Hall of Fame once she decides to retire from coaching.

Whitten was the USA Hockey goaltender from 1992-97 and both 1999 and 2001. During this time, she helped the US earn four silver medals in the IIHF Women's World Championships. While she started in both the 1992 and 1994 tournaments, she excelled in 1994, earning the recognition of Outstanding Goaltender. This was also the year in which USA Hockey named her Women's Player of the Year. Throughout this time, she also played for four men's hockey organizations in the States.

Her contributions beyond playing hockey, however, may have had the biggest impact on the program. For a decade, Hamlen coached at the University of New Hampshire, holding both the titles of Associate Head Coach and Assistant Coach during her tenure. She led the team to four straight Hockey East tournament titles and two appearances in the Frozen Four. During this period, she also found time to coach at a national level, earning a silver medal in the 2006 IIHF WWC and the first gold for the U-18 in 2007.

She ended her stint at UNH by coaching the Boston Blades in their inaugural season in 2010. The Blades ended in the middle of the pack with a 10-15-1, and she stayed on with the team in an advisory role. Part of this was due to her other mentoring commitments, both with Team China in 2011 and Team Japan in 2012. Now, she is also the USA Hockey Goaltending Coach/Scout.

Currently, Hamlen is in the middle of a multi-year coaching contract with Merrimack College as their head coach. She joined the program in 2015-2016, leading the Merrimack Warriors into Division I hockey. A team of mostly freshmen, Hamlen managed to lead her players both on-and-off the ice. Two of her freshmen (Paige Voight and Samantha Ridgewell) earned Hockey East All-Rookie honors, and she had seventeen student-athletes named to Hockey East All-Academic Team. The team improved their second season under Hamlen, going from five total wins to eleven. The team also clinched their first-ever Hockey East Tournament appearance.

Jennifer Botterill

Botterill was one of the shoo-ins for this year’s class, and there’s no doubt that she’ll make it in the HHOF some day, though that should come sooner rather than later.

Botterill went to college at Harvard right around the same time that women’s ice hockey became a sanctioned sport by the NCAA; during her first two years, it wasn’t one, which is why the NCAA doesn’t formally recognize her as the US points leader despite her numbers in college: 149 goals and 170 assists for 319 points. Yeah.

She was the first player to win the Patty Kazmaier award twice, given to the most outstanding college player. At one point during her college career, she had a streak of 80 consecutive games where she scored at least one point, and is tied with the NCAA record for most points in one game (10).

She’s perhaps most well-known for her time with Canada’s national team, where she played a total of 184 games throughout her career. During that time, she racked up 174 points (65 G, 109 A). She has four Olympic medals, three gold and a silver, and has another eight from World Championships. Her final point as a member of Team Canada? An assist on Marie-Philip Poulin’s gold-medal goal in 2010.

She was also in the CWHL for three years as a member of the Toronto Furies and the Mississauga Chiefs. She won the Angela James Bowl as the league’s top scorer with 61 points in the 2007-08 season.

She is, in short, one of Canada’s biggest stars in women’s hockey and should be inducted yesterday.

Kim Martin

Martin is another player who should certainly receive HHOF consideration, but considering she’s not from the US or Canada, it might take the committee longer to recognize that she should be inducted.

Martin was a staple in Sweden’s net from a young age; she made her international debut at the 2001 IIHF World Championships at the age of 15. Though she played just two games in that event, she went on to help propel Sweden to a bronze medal finish in the 2002 Olympics, which would have been impressive enough, but the reason she was in net at all was a coin flip before the game. A COIN FLIP. For an OLYMPIC MEDAL.

She was in net again during the 2006 Olympics, and was the goalie who upset the US in the semi-final, propelling the Swedes to the gold-medal game for the first time in history (they won the silver). To this day, it remains the only Olympic final that wasn’t between Canada and the United States.

Martin also went on to have a wildly successful collegiate career. At Minnesota-Duluth, she led her team to an NCAA championship in 2008, recording only the second shutout in a championship game in history at the time. As a result, she won the Most Outstanding Player award for the tournament. She was also named the WCHA’s Goaltender of the Year in 2011.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall

Campbell-Pascall could make it into the HHOF for a number of reasons. Chief among them is her successful hockey career, where she helped Canada win three Olympic medals in 1998, 2002 and 2006, in addition to representing Canada in seven world championships (six gold medals, one silver). She was also the captain of two Olympic teams in 2002 and 2006.

But though her accolades on the ice speak for themselves, Campbell-Pascall is perhaps better known now for her work covering the game she once played. Currently,she’s a reporter at Sportsnet, but when she first retired from the game she joined Hockey Night in Canada as a rinkside reporter. She became the first woman ever to do color commentary on HNIC, and then later did color commentary for women’s hockey during the 2010 and 2014 Olympics and has called other games as well.

Though she mostly covers the NHL at Sportsnet, Campbell-Pascall remains a important figure in the women’s hockey community promoting the game and deserves a spot in the HHOF.

She’s won nearly every award except a HHOF induction; in 2012 she earned the Order of Hockey in Canada and was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, was named the CWHL’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2014, and in 2016 gained admission into the Order of Canada.

Seriously. Induct her already.

Jayna Hefford

Many thought that Hefford would be inducted in the Hall this year, her first year of eligibility since she retired after the 2014 Olympics.

Her numbers are absurd, not only on the international level, but also in the CWHL. She has a TROPHY named after her in the CWHL, given to the most outstanding player in the league as voted by the players.

She played in five consecutive Olympic Games, from 1998 to 2014; only Hefford and the legendary Hayley Wickenheiser have played in every Olympic contest to date. On top of that, she’s competed in 12 World Championships.

As a member of the former NWHL and CWHL, she competed for the Brampton Thunder. While in the NWHL, she won five goal-scoring titles, and in the CWHL, she won the league’s MVP award in 2007-08 and the Angela James Bowl in 2008-09.

In college, she also played for the University of Toronto’s hockey team, where she scored what should have been an overtime winning goal for the OWIAA title that was disallowed because of a rule about the overtime period.

Riikka Välilä

Although Välilä (née Nieminen) isn’t currently eligible as an active player, her ten-year hiatus from the game provided ample time for the committee to recognize her contributions to the game both in Finland and abroad.

The Jyväskylä native began representing Finland in the 1988-1989 season and was the leading scorer at the inaugural Olympic women’s hockey tournament with twelve points in six games. Välilä retired in 2003 at age 30 with an Olympic bronze, four World Championship bronzes, three European championships, and 204 points. She was inducted into the Finnish Ice Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2007-2008 class and into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2010. The Naisten Liiga, highest level of women’s hockey in Finland, presents the Riikka Nieminen Award annually to the league’s best player.

Impressive, right? But wait, there’s more.

In 2013, ten years after her retirement, Välilä decided to attempt a comeback. That in itself would be extraordinary enough, but she actually succeeded, and earned herself a place on the Finnish roster at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. She’s been going ever since. She currently plays with HV71 in the SDHL and is a lock for the Pyeongchang Olympics, where she’ll represent Finland at age 44.

Maria Rooth

Maria Rooth’s absence from the Hall is a double indictment against the Committee’s views on both women and non-North American players. She’s one of the finest goal scorers Sweden’s ever produced, plain and simple.

Rooth had a legendary NCAA career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she was a three-time Patty Kazmaier top-ten finalist and a Frozen Four MVP with a staggering 164 points in 92 games played, as well as three consecutive NCAA titles. She’s the only UMD women’s player to have her jersey retired by the program.

On an international scale, Rooth joined the Damknorna in 1996 and is the first Swedish player to ever score 100 goals in international competition. She represented Sweden at four Olympics, winning bronze in 2002 and silver in 2006. The semifinal between Sweden and the United States remains one of biggest shockers in women’s Olympic history: Rooth scored twice in regulation to tie the game and scored again in overtime to send Sweden to the finals.

She finished her career in 2010 with 105 international goals and was elected into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2014.