The waits for were long for both Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson. But after receiving Wednesday phone calls from Lanny MacDonald, the two longtime NHL defensemen are Hall of Famers.
Lowe, eligible since 2001, and Wilson, eligible since 1996, were announced as part of the 2020 class along with Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kim St. Pierre, and Ken Holland.
“It’s not only that you have to get 14 of 18 votes, but it’s also sometimes who you may be up against when you’re up that year,” said MacDonald, the Hall’s Chairman. “Sometimes, it’s timing. Regardless of if they go in like Marian and Jarome, it’s richly deserved.”
When Lowe saw MacDonald was calling, he figured it wasn’t say he didn’t get in.
“It’s all surreal for me,” he said.
Lowe is the seventh player from those great 1980s Oilers teams to make it to the Hall of Fame. After watching Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey get inducted, he never thought he would join that group.
“I’ve never seen myself as a Hall of Famer,” Lowe said. “For me, the Hall of Fame was Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier. Although I know there are players of my ilk in the Hall of Fame and it’s a place for everyone, I don’t want to say I was disappointed in the years I didn’t get selected, but I certainly understood you have to put up more points, win awards.
“My dream was always to win Stanley Cups and the Hall of Fame was something I never dreamed about.”
Lowe finished his NHL career with six Stanley Cup rings between the Oilers and Rangers. In 1,254 games he scored 84 times and recorded 431 points. Internationally, he represented Canada at the 1982 World Championship and the 1984 Canada Cup.
Wilson had the longer wait and since retiring has made an impact as Sharks general manager for nearly two decades. He’s going into the Hall of Fame in the player category, a day he didn’t think was coming.
“It was an unexpected call,” he said.
Wilson played 16 NHL seasons, finishing with 237 goals and 827 points. He’s the Blackhawks all-time leader in goals and points by a defenseman and led the their blue liners in scoring for 10 seasons. His 0.81 points-per-game average is ninth all-time among defenseman who played at least 650 games.
Individually, Wilson was voted a 1981-82 First Team All-Star and won the Norris Trophy in 1982. He was also a finalist for the award four other times. Like Lowe, he was on Canada’s blue line for the 1984 Canada Cup.
“This game has been so good to me, and all the things I’ve been fortunate to do and the journey I’ve been on, it was very unexpected,” he said.
“It’s worth the wait. That’s an understatement.”
The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively set to take place Monday, Nov. 16 in Toronto.