By Sean Leahy – Yahoo Sports
Nearly 20 years after retiring, Sergei Makarov has been named as part of the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Class, joining Pat Quinn, Rogie Vachon and Eric Lindros.
“Oh my gosh, the wait is over,” is what Hall Chairman Lanny MacDonald said Makarov responded with when told the great news from his home in Russia.
Markarov’s case is a unique one in that his resumes on the NHL and international level are impressive, and in a year where there weren’t any slam-dunk candidates, the former Soviet star will finally get enshrined in Toronto this coming November.
As one-third of the famed Soviet ‘KLM’ line along with Vladimir Krutov and Igor Larionov, who is one of the 18 members of the selection committee, Makarov saw an incredible amount of success on the international stage. Golds from two Olympic Games, eight World Championships and two World Junior Championships can be found in his trophy case during his time playing for the Soviet Union. He would record 83 goals and 172 points in 145 appearances representing his country at the senior level. In 2001 he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
On the club level with CSKA Moscow, he won 11 consecutive league titles and led the Soviet league in scoring for nine seasons, winning three MVPs.
The Calgary Flames drafted Makarov in the 12th round of the 1983 draft, six spots after fellow countryman Alexei Kasatonov. Once he arrived in the NHL, he made an immediate impact, finishing fourth on the team in scoring with 24 goals and 86 points while leading all rookies. That first-year success in North America helped earn him the 1990 Calder Trophy.
That NHL rookie of the year honor, of course, was a controversial one given he was 31 at the time. Soon after, wording on the award was changed to make it so players could not be over the age of 26 and have played more than 25 regular season games in any single season or more than six regular season games in any major professional league in the two preceding seasons.
“When you Google Sergei Makarov’s name, you better have lots of paper ready to write down what you find as far as his accomplishments,” Larionov told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun last summer. “You look at his longevity, his consistency, his skill level, he played more than 20 years and was one of the best players in the game.”
Makarov would reunite with Larionov in 1993 with the San Jose Sharks and form the ‘OV’ line with Johan Garpenlov. He would lead the team in scoring with 30 goals and 68 points and help upset the No. 1 seeded Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
After playing for parts of two more seasons in the NHL and the Swiss league, Makarov decided to hang up his skates following a decorated career.
“For everyone who plays the game, this is the top place,“ said Markarov in a statement. “It will be so nice to join all of those great players.”