Eric Lindros is finally a Hockey Hall of Famer.
Lindros was elected Monday as part of the 2016 class that also features Soviet star Sergei Makarov, goaltender Rogie Vachon, and the late coach and executive Pat Quinn.
Because concussions and other injuries cut his career short, Lindros was passed over for the Hall of Fame six previous times. But his Hart Trophy season as NHL MVP with the Flyers in 1995 and his 865 points in 760 games ended up being too much to keep him out.
“I haven’t stopped smiling since (Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald) gave me the phone call to let me know that things are the way they are,” Lindros said.
Lindros was a junior hockey star and the No. 1 pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1991. After refusing to sign with the Nordiques, he was sent to Philadelphia as part of one of the biggest trades in NHL history and spent the majority of his career there.
Friction with teammates and management dotted Lindros’ career, and he never won the Stanley Cup. But Lindros won two world junior gold medals and Olympic gold in 2002 representing Canada.
Makarov was more than a point-a-game scorer for the Soviet national team as part of the famed KLM line with Vladimir Krutov and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Igor Larionov. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year with Calgary in 1991 and put up 384 points in 424 games with the Flames, San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars, once Russian players were able to play in the NHL.
Vachon won the Vezina Trophy with the Canadiens in 1967-68 and was part of three Cup-champion teams in Montreal. He went on to play with the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins and finished with 355 victories.
Because he has been eligible for three decades, the 70-year-old Vachon said he stopped waiting for the call from the Hall of Fame.
Quinn, who died in November 2014, led Lindros and Canada to the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and coached the 1979-80 Flyers team that went a record 35 consecutive games without a loss.