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Hall goes defensive with picks

By Associated Press
Published June 10, 2004

DANVERS, Mass. - Ray Bourque was on the 13th hole when his cell phone rang. He then proceeded to mess up his chip shot.

Bourque and fellow high-scoring defensemen Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday in their first year of eligibility.

Former Calgary and Toronto general manager and Lightning executive Cliff Fletcher was chosen for the builders category.

"I really didn't know how I was going to react, but it really gave me goose bumps," Bourque said. "I couldn't hit my next chip shot."

Bourque holds career records for defensemen in goals (410), assists (1,169) and points (1,579). The eighth overall pick in 1979, he won the Calder trophy as the league's top rookie. Bourque won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman five times.

Coffey, the best rushing defenseman since Bobby Orr, is second to Bourque in goals (396), assists (1,135) and points (1,531) among defensemen.

"When I got the call, I was a little emotional and taken aback," Coffey said.

Coffey won the Norris Trophy three times and set the record for goals in a season by a defenseman with 48, surpassing Orr in 1985-86.

Murphy is second all-time in games played by a defenseman (1,615) and fifth in points (1,216).

"To be added to this group of players is a tremendous honor and something that I'll cherish for the rest of my life," he said.

Fletcher helped build the Calgary team that won the Cup in 1989 and turned the Maple Leafs into contenders in the early 1990s.

"It's more than special for me, going in on the tails of three great defensemen like Ray, Paul and Larry," Fletcher said.

The ceremony is Nov. 8.

WHA: The league, to start up in October, announced six franchises: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City; Detroit; Dallas; Orlando and Jacksonville. Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, are expected to join when they secure leases.

[Last modified June 9, 2004, 23:53:20]


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