A ‘Tremendous Honor’

Tom Barrasso Elected To The Hockey Hall of Fame

Tom Barrasso finally got the call that he admits he was uncertain would ever come. Two decades after winning 369 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues, Barrasso hasbeen elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2023.

“I was definitely not waiting by the phone,” Barrasso said with a laugh. “In fact, they had a hard time getting ahold of me even after they had made the decision. As a player, you’re competitive, and you hold yourself in certain regard as how you think your career was.

“And then this is obviously the ultimate honor, and do you make that grade or not? It’s not for you to decide. It’s for others to decide. So as time goes by, you think, ‘Well, it’s not going to happen.’”

Barrasso won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and ’92 and established himself as one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the sport during his 19-year NHL career. Barrasso ranks first in NHL playoff victories (61) and fourth in regular-season victories (369) among U.S.-born goaltenders. He also holds the NHL record for career points (48) and assists (48) by a goalie.

Barrasso was selected fifth overall by the Sabres in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, and he became the only goaltender to play in the NHL directly from high school. He would win the Calder Trophy and the Vezina Trophy in 1984 after posting a 26-12-3 (W-L-T) record.

“It was an amazing year, as an 18-year-old turning 19,” Barrasso recalled. “I never achieved that level of success again in my career, which is crazy to say—individually, anyway. It was just an amazing run. I wanted to succeed so bad and not go to the American (Hockey) League, and that just drove me every day to work and be good in practice and get myself prepared for games.”

The Boston native led the NHL in wins (43) during the 1992-93 season and ranked among the top 10 in the league in victories on nine separate occasions.

The 2009 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee was a member of Team USA at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and helped the squad capture the silver medal. Barrasso also played for the United States at the 1983 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cups, and the 1986 IIHF Men’s World Championship.

This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Monday, November 13, in Toronto.

“To have the call come, to me, just validates the idea that I’ve had in my head this whole time—that I’ll write down my accomplishments and I’ll stand by them,” Barrasso said. “And if they’re good enough to get in, that’s great. And if they’re not, that’s okay, too. So, it’s a tremendous honor to have been selected by the committee, and it puts a bit of a validation on the idea what I thought along the way of my career.”

Issue: 
2023-07

Poll

Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
21%
Jason Robertson
6%
Tage Thompson
11%
Matthew Tkachuk
7%
Patrick Kane
23%
Other
32%
Total votes: 324