The 2021 HHOF legends Classic took place on Sunday afternoon, drawing in a major crowd at the Scotiabank Arena. The annual event sees some of the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame take part in a fun, friendly competition between some of the greatest to ever play the game. This year, Team Canada Legends, led by captain Scott Niedermayer, squared off against the rival Team Worlds Legends, led by American Mike Modano. The Legends Classic is simply for the enjoyment of the fans, who get to see their all-time favourites hit the ice, and for some, the first time since their days of glory. While there is little forechecking, and no hitting, it’s an energetic, high-scoring contest, with plenty of highlight-reel goals, plays, and saves.
The 2021 Legends Classic saw many former players enter a familiar arena. Headlined by an all-time fan favourite in Wendel Clarke, 10 former Maple Leafs partook in the festivities, 11 if you include bench boss Ken Holland. One of six new honoured members, Holland was drafted by Toronto, but never played a game in the blue and white. Alongside Holland on the bench for Team Niedermayer was Kevin Lowe, another inductee and former Maple Leaf.
Nine former Maple Leafs skaters took to the ice on Bay Street at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. Al Iafrate, Eric Lindros, Nik Antropov, Wendel Clarke, Thomas Kaberle, Dimitri Mironov, Steve Thomas, Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy brought back plenty of memories for many fans of the past.
Arguably the best player to come out of Kazakstan, Nikolai Antropov spent the bulk of his career with Toronto and looked right at home in Team Worlds blue in Sunday’s matinee. After hanging up the skates from his playing career, the six-foot-six forward has joined the Leafs once again and currently serves as a skills development consultant. For his contributions, he was named as one of three stars of the game.
Molly Schaus Steals The Show
Nobody expected a goaltender to steal the show at the Hall of Fame Legends Classic, but that is just what Molly Schaus did. The annual Legends Game is always a high-scoring affair, where little-to-no defence is played, and plenty of goals are scored, however, in this case, didn’t come easily to the Canadian Legends. Standing on her head, Team Niedermayer players could be constantly looking back up in disbelief of the robberies that occurred by the glove of Molly Schaus.
Hossa Scores Hat trick In Return
Just before the 2017-18 NHL season, Hossa, at the age of 42, was forced to retire from hockey. He developed a skin condition that made wearing equipment unbearable, resulting in his untimely departure from the league and sport he loves. He may have stopped playing much earlier than
Hossa may have been forced to hang up the skates earlier than he may have liked, he did not miss hockey as much as one would have expected. “For some reason, I didn’t need to go in equipment, and I feel relaxed that I don’t have to put something on,” said the former Blackhawks alternate captain.
Having not put on his equipment in four years, Marian and his brother, Marcel, a former first-round draft pick, decided to hit the ice just two weeks ago. “But now, like the last two weeks, when I said I went on the ice, I got the feel for the stick and I shot the puck, and I was like, ‘Ahh, I miss that.’”
Sunday afternoon at Scotiabank Arena saw the veteran make his return to hockey. Although he may not be at the same caliber that got him into the Hall, he certainly doesn’t look like someone who hasn’t put on skates in the last four years. Hossa scored a hat trick for Team Modano alongside his brother, while playing against former Blackhawks teammate Brent Seabrook. Marian and Marcel last played on the same team in 2013-14 for Team Slovakia on the International stage.
Holland Makes Coaching Debut
He was a Scout, then transitioned to Director of Scouting, Assistant General Manager, then General Manager, yet the one role Ken Holland hasn’t taken on is the role of Head Coach. That is until Sunday. Holland made his coaching debut behind the bench for Team Niedermayer. “It was strange because other than playing, I retired in 1985, I haven’t been down at the bench since 1985, so it’s different, it’s a different perspective than I’m used to,” Holland said.
The end result may not have been what Holland was hoping for in his debut, but the Hall of Fame builder can now add bench boss to his long resume.
Brent Seabrook Is Back
Seabrook, who made his return to the rink on Sunday afternoon, was a part of the Blackhawks dynasty that won three cups between 2010-2015. The forward was forced to retire after multiple injuries that he endured since 2019 forced him off the ice. This past March, the. announced that he would be retiring from the game of hockey due to his lingering health issues. Seabrook may not be returning to the NHL, but he was looking quite healthy, as he returned to the rink with Team Niedermayer at the Legends Classic. With all of the injuries he endured over the last few years, it was great to see him back on the ice healthy and competing again.