It has truly been an overdue honour to say the least but as the old saying goes, it is better late than never. That sentiment is ringing true today as it was announced that Los Angeles Kings legend Rogie Vachon will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this coming November as part of the shrine’s Class of 2016.
For years, fans of the Los Angeles Kings have been pushing to get Vachon into the Hall and on Monday, their wishes came true. Vachon will be entering the Hall of Fame along with one-time Kings coach, the late, great Pat Quinn, in addition to Eric Lindros and Sergei Makarov.
Despite winning three Stanley Cups and a Vezina Trophy with the Montreal Canadiens, Vachon’s NHL career is most synonymous with the Kings with whom he spent seven of his 16 seasons playing for. The Kings even made Vachon’s number the first to be retired in club history as they hung his No. 30 in the old Forum on Feb. 14, 1985. It would be five-and-a-half years before the Kings retired their second number: Marcel Dionne‘s No. 16.
Known for his quick glove hand and great reflexes, Vachon, even in years when his team was near the bottom of the standings, excelled in goal, quickly garnering notoriety as one of the best one-on-one netminders of his era. In fact, Vachon had never allowed a goal on a penalty shot during his entire career.
In addition to being a three-time All-Star, Vachon set a plethora of Kings records including most career games played by a goaltender (389) and most minutes played (22,922). In addition, while they have been since surpassed by Jonathan Quick in recent years, Vachon also held the franchise record for most career wins with 171, most career shutouts with 32 and lowest goals-against average in a season at 2.24 set in 1974-75.
Having asked countless Kings fans over the years, Rogie Vachon is largely regarded as the most popular King of all time. Those who have met him have raved about what a nice, humble man he is and for those who watched him play have told stories about his superb ability at being a difference maker in goal.
Before Kopitar and Doughty, before Gretzky and Blake and before Robitaille and Taylor, there was a man who made the Los Angeles Kings matter, a man who set the tone for hockey in California. He is an ambassador not only to the game but to the Kings franchise as he, in addition to his playing days, served as the club’s general manager from 1984 to 1992 and even stepped behind the bench to act as coach. There is arguably no other figure more synonymous to Los Angeles Kings overall than Rogie Vachon and today, the team and their ever-loyal fanbase rejoice as one of their most beloved representatives gets his rightful due.
Congratulations, Mr. Vachon.