Fred Shero to be Hockey Hall of Fame inductee


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Ray Shero was one of those children who liked to tag along with his father to work. That meant hanging out around NHL teams and learning things that would stick with him.

His father, Fred Shero, coached the Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cups in the 1970s.

"When I was running around the Flyers locker room as a kid, I was probably a pain in the neck, but they never treated me that way," recalled Ray Shero, the Penguins general manager since 2006.

Tuesday, Fred Shero was named one of five inductees in the 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame class. He will go in under the builders category during a ceremony Nov. 11 in Toronto. Also being inducted this year are former NHL stars Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan, and Canadian women's gold medalist Geraldine Heaney.

"If he were alive, he would certainly be thanking the players who made this possible," Ray Shero said of Fred, who died in 1990 at age 65.

Among those would be the so-called Broad Street Bullies, the Flyers teams of the 1970s.

"I was really fortunate to be at the right age," Ray Shero said. "I remember everything. I was ages 9-17 in Philly, and 12 and 13 when they won the Cup. I remember everything about that -- the parade, the people."

Fred Shero got his call to the Hall the same year his son was named general manager of the year and four years after Ray Shero and the Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup.

As Flyers coach, Fred Shero was the first or among the first in the NHL to hire full-time assistant coaches, use film review, adopt morning skates and travel to the Soviet Union to study their style of play.

He also was known for inspirational messages, sometimes written on a wall in the locker room. Perhaps his most well-known was: "Win today, and we walk together forever." It was a message to his players during a 1974 Stanley Cup final.

"May 19, 1974," Ray Shero said of that particular message.

"He never spoke that way, but he had a different way of communicating with his players. He was a players' coach. I realized that long after he was coaching. He had these ways of getting to players. Maybe now it would be a text message. Back then it was the board in the locker room. Or he might put a note in a player's glove. A lot of players who played for him still know a lot of those sayings, and they carry those with them."

Young Ray Shero was a sponge.

"I was fortunate," he said. "You learn just from being around."

He recalled that in the late 1970s, his father's assistants were Terry Crisp and Pat Quinn, and the goaltending coach was Hall of Famer Jacques Plante.

"I hung around, listened to their meetings," Ray Shero said. "Some of that stuff you carry with you. Whether you stay in the game or not, I think you learn a lot about it. It's been good for me. I've applied it in my hockey career but also, hopefully, in life."

Shero has seen the tradition continue, as his two sons sometimes hang out at Penguins practice, as do the children of some of the players and staff.

There has been a growing thought for years that Fred Shero's call to the Hall was long overdue. Ray Shero used to get revved up each year when the inductees were announced.

"Over the last few years, I was probably more than others," he said. "This year, I wasn't at all. I didn't really think about it."

In fact, he had taken his family to Hilton Head. S.C., for the American Hockey League annual meetings and was on the beach Tuesday playing football with his sons. Between that and spotty cell service, he missed the initial call about his father.

Then he missed a call with USA Hockey -- with which he is serving as the assistant general manager for the 2014 Sochi Olympics -- so he could jump on a Hall of Fame media conference call representing his father.

"It's a great honor for my father," Ray Shero said. "It's been awhile since an NHL coach has been recognized."

The late Herb Brooks -- formerly of the Penguins and the U.S. Olympic team, among others -- had been the most recent coach to enter the Hall, in 2006. Fred Shero will be the seventh NHL coach in the past 23 years to be inducted.

Fred Shero, who also was coach and general manager of the New York Rangers, had an NHL coaching record of 390-225-119. He is 11th all time in winning percentage (.612) and was the first winner of the Jack Adams Award (1974) as NHL coach of the year.

Chelios and Niedermayer earned hockey's biggest individual honor in their first year of eligibility. Shanahan was a teammate of Chelios' in Detroit, and played with Niedermayer in the Olympics in 2002 when Canada won gold.

"When you got to play with them, it was a thrill," Shanahan said. "I spent some years playing with Cheli, and there's not another guy that you would want to go into a tough situation looking out for you."

Niedermayer won four Stanley Cups in 17 full NHL seasons to go along with a Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy. He played for the New Jersey Devils from 1991-92 through the 2003-04 season and finished his career in Anaheim in 2010.

Chelios played 23 full seasons and parts of three more, taking part in his final NHL game at age 48. "I was part of an era, Chris was part of a few," Niedermayer joked.

Shanahan finished with 656 goals and 698 assists. He won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, an Olympic gold medal and was the quintessential scoring power winger of his era.

Heaney was a defenseman on Canada's championship team at the 2002 Olympics and is considered one of the best female players in history.

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Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly


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