TORONTO — Dave Andreychuk sensed his numbers would be good enough to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He just had to stay patient.
Andreychuk retired in 2006 after a 23-year NHL career, and his 640 goals make him the 14th-highest scoring player. Of the 17 retired players to hit the 600-goal mark, he was the only one not in the Hall other than co-inductee Teemu Selanne despite being eligible for induction since 2009. Selanne became eligible this year.
“I think 600 goals on the resume, it’s got to happen eventually,” Andreychuk said. “To be honest when I look at the time it took to get in it just makes it sweeter. I think the numbers speak for themselves. You just hope your time will come.”
Andreychuk joined the Hall on Friday a with NHL greats, Mark Recchi, Selanne and Paul Kariya and Canadian women’s star Danielle Goyette. Longtime Canadian university coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs entered in the builder category.
Glens Falls native Dave Strader was also scheduled to be honored posthumously as the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award at the Hall’s media awards luncheon on Monday.
The 54-year-old Andreychuk — who was drafted in 1982 by Buffalo and made stops in Toronto, New Jersey, Boston, Colorado and Tampa Bay — was driving on a Florida freeway to pick up his wife from the airport when he got the call.
“My heart started to race right away. I immediately hung up and called my father,” said Andreychuk, noting he pulled off the road to take the call. “My mother did most the talking, saying ‘It was about time,’ but my father was crying at the same time.”
The long wait never rattled the man described by his peers as a natural leader. Andreychuk went 22 seasons before lifting the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay.
“It’s like winning the Stanley Cup,” he said. “You’ve been dreaming about it all your life but you don’t know how you’re going to react until it happens.”
Andreychuk is still the career leader for power-play goals with 274. Most came from in front of the net, with his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame paying the price. He earned his paycheck by being a goalie’s nightmare.