A city without a team held center stage at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday when Peter Stastny and Michel Goulet, who starred for the old Quebec Nordiques, were inducted.
"My heart belongs to that city," Stastny said of Quebec's capital, which had an NHL team from 1979 until 1995 when it was sold and moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche.
"To the people of Quebec, hockey is a religion, and we had a rivalry between Quebec City and Montreal that was special," Stastny said. "It is too bad it had to end. "
"Maybe some day they can get another team and the rivalry can be reborn. We all miss it." ,
Stastny, 42, now a pro scout with the St. Louis Blues, and Goulet, 38, now director of player development for the Avalanche, were Nordiques teammates through the 1980s.
Both played 15 years. Stastny had 450 goals and 789 assists, while Goulet had 548 goals and 604 assists, with four consecutive seasons of 50-plus goals. Stastny finished up with the Blues and Goulet with the Chicago Blackhawks, but they entered the Hall of Fame as Nordiques.
"I would be on the ice a half hour before everybody else," Goulet said of morning practices at Le Colisee. "I would shoot pucks - skate down the wing on the left side and shoot pucks. "
"I'm convinced that's why I got better and better."
"The fans were really close to the ice and when we played Montreal the feeling in that building was incredible," Goulet said.
| Ring leaders Michel Goulet, left, and Peter Stastny. (Ap) |
"I didn't hestitate when I got the chance," Stastny said. "I wanted to have the challenge to compete with the best players in the world."
Stastny was the NHL's rookie of the year. He and Goulet helped the Nordiques made it to their conference final in 1982 and 1985.
"For the first years, there were many people at Le Colisee cheering for Montreal during our games," Stastny recalled. "But the longer we were there, the more fans we won. "
"Eventually, when we played in Montreal, there were Nordiques fans making the noise. Those were games I will never forget. "
"I have Nordiques jerseys at home and they are the most important parts of my hockey memorabilia," Stastny said.
The stick and puck Goulet used for his 500th NHL goal have been in the Hall of Fame for five years, but he'd never stepped inside until Monday.
"As a young boy, you never dream of something like this," he said of his induction. "You just want to play in the NHL, and to be on the wall with all the best players, this is heaven."
Also inducted were the late Roy Conacher in the veteran player category; Monsignor Athol Murray, who created the hockey program at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask., in the builder category; Yvon Pedneault, the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for journalism; and Howie Meeker, the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting.
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