Los Angeles (AFP) - First-ballot inductees Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa will headline a six-member 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class announced on Wednesday.
Iginla, a two-time Olympic gold medallist for Canada, will become the fourth black player inducted into the Hall of Fame after Grant Fuhr, women's hockey pioneer Angela James and Willie O'Ree.
Iginla and Fuhr are the only black NHL players enshrined for their exploits on the ice while O'Ree was chosen in the builder category in 2018 for breaking the league's color barrier 60 years earlier.
"Growing up, I loved playing hockey. I didn't view myself as a black hockey player, but I was also aware that I was," said Iginla, who scored 625 goals in an NHL career that included 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames.
"My mom was just reminding me today of a picture I took with Grant Fuhr when I was 10 and he was in his early 20s. It's pretty neat to think that he got to the Hall of Fame, and I got there with him. If there are other minorities, other black kids growing up seeing that it's possible, it'll be special to other kids like it was to me."
Hossa, a native of Slovakia, played 19 NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks and collected 525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 games.
He was a member of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
The 2020 class, which is slated to be inducted on November 16 in Toronto if coronavirus concerns permit, also includes defensemen Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, who both saw long waits for the nod to end.
Canadian goalie Kim St-Pierre was named in the women's category and Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland in the builder category.