During his Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech, Henrik Sedin didn’t miss the opportunity to take a playful shot at his twin brother, linemate – and as of Monday night – fellow inductee.
“It came down to a last-minute decision to attend,” he said in his speech. “But as our coaches always said, ‘Henrik at 70 per cent is a lot better than Daniel at 100.’”
The Sedins, Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo, former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Finnish women’s national team player Riikka Sallinen and builder Herb Carnegie were welcomed into the hall as the class of 2022 on Monday.
The twins and Luongo were elected in their first years of eligibility back in June, while Alfredsson had waited since 2017. The induction of Sedins and Alfredsson bumps the number of Swedish players in the hall from four to seven.
Selected No. 3 at the 1999 NHL draft – one spot behind Daniel – Henrik Sedin owns a big chunk of Vancouver’s record book as its leader in assists (830), points (1,070) and games played (1,330) in his 17 seasons.
The centre playfully offered his two cents in the never-ending debate about which of the symbiotic Sedins, who terrorized a generation of defenders with their vision and skill, was better.
“I missed 30 games in my career and Danny’s production was not the same,” he said with a smirk. “In 2010, Danny missed 20 games … I had 11 goals and nine assists.
“With Daniel I was barely a 20-goal scorer. Without him I would have been a career 45-goal scorer.”
Henrik won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as its leading scoring in 2009-10. He added 78 points in 105 playoff games that included the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
“You have always been a calming influence in my life,” Daniel, who spoke before Henrik, said of his brother. “In my mind, you are both a better hockey player than me (and) better person than me.
“And I’m saying this sincerely, but also knowing that he will stand up here in about 10 minutes.”
Daniel Sedin’s 393 goals – many of them off a pass from Henrik – top Vancouver’s all-time list, while he sits second behind his twin in assists (648), points (1,041) and games played (1,306). He put up 71 points in 102 playoff appearances.
“I want to thank whoever it was that selected me to speak first,” Daniel said with a laugh. “It reminds me of draft day.”
The younger Sedin, by a whole six minutes, won the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP voted by NHL Players’ Association members as well as the Art Ross in 2010-11.
He met fellow Swede and Hall of Fame defenceman Borje Salming, who’s battling ALS, over the weekend in Toronto.
“The last few days reminded me what’s hockey has always meant to me,” he said. “It’s about being there for others through all the ups and, more importantly, all the downs.”
Henrik Sedin, meanwhile, paid tribute to his brother’s drive.
“To know that someone would be in the gym every morning waiting for me on the days I felt like taking a day off, that’s what made me the player I was,” he said.
Luongo, who played eight seasons with the Sedins in Vancouver, was drafted by the New York Islanders and retired with the Florida Panthers, but the goaltender’s days on the West Coast paved the way for his enshrinement.
The 43-year-old ranked third in NHL history with 489 wins when he retired in 2019 after 19 seasons. He sits second in games played (1,044), shots against (30,924) and saves (28,409).
Luongo said when he got the news he would be inducted, the first thing he asked was if the Sedins would be joining him.
“Wanted it so bad,” he said. “Proud to say that I played with you guys.”
Luongo twice won 40 games with the Canucks and made at least 70 appearances in four straight seasons.
A three-time Vézina Trophy finalist as the league’s top netminder, the Montreal native finished second in 2007 Hart voting and won two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014).
“I’ve never been around anyone with the same determination and willingness to do anything to get better,” Henrik Sedin said.
Alfredsson registered 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points during his 18 NHL campaign, which included 17 with the Senators. He added 100 points in 124 playoff contests.
An unknown sixth-round pick when he arrived in the nation’s capital, Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy in 1996 as NHL rookie of the year.
Ottawa’s all-time leader in goals, assists and points, the 49-year-old captured Olympic gold in 2006 for Sweden alongside the Sedins and guided Ottawa to the 2007 Cup final – a first for a European captain.
Alfredsson paid tribute to former teammates, trainers and coaches, including the late Bryan Murray, but also touched on a cause close to his heart.
“The pressures of hockey for some can become unbearable,” he said. “Mental health issues are a reality of our game. We’re long overdue to finally erase the stigma.”
Sallinen, who wasn’t in attendance, played 16 seasons with her national team, won Olympic bronze 20 years apart (1998, 2018) and is the first non-North American woman inducted into the hall.
The 49-year-old added a silver at the 2019 world championships to go along with six third-place showings.
Carnegie, who died in 2012 at age 92, has often been mentioned as the most talented Black player to never reach the NHL.
Following a long career in senior leagues where he faced racism that kept him from achieving his ultimate dream, Carnegie founded Future Aces, one of Canada’s first hockey schools, in 1955.
His work at the grassroots level pushing for more diversity led to his induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Toronto native was also named to the Order of Ontario in 1996 and the Order of Canada in 2003.
“We are responsible for making the sport better,” said Bernice Carnegie, Herb’s daughter. “We are responsible for ending sexism, gender bias, racism and homophobia. We are responsible for making all areas of our lives more accepting and inclusive.
“This was my father’s life work.”