One of most popular players on the St. Louis Blues from 1991 to 1995, Brendan Shanahan on Tuesday learned he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Also in the Hall of Fame's 2013 class are defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Chelios.
Shanahan is the 18th Blues player selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame. In recent years, the list includes Adam Oates (2012), Doug Gilmour (2011), Brett Hull (2009), Glenn Anderson (2008) and Al MacInnis (2007).
Shanahan was a teammate of Chelios' in Detroit, and played with Niedermayer during 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.
"It absolutely makes it more special to go in with people I not only played against, but played with and got to know well."
Shanahan was part of one of the most controversial trades in Blues franchise history, dealt to the Hartford Whalers for defenseman Chris Pronger on July 27, 1995.
Both went on to have successful careers, but when Pronger first joined the Blues he was booed nearly every time he touched the puck because of Shanahan's immense popularity.
In 277 games with the Blues, Shanahan had 156 goals and 306 points. He still ranks ninth on the team's all-time goal-scoring list, is tied for fifth in franchise history with six hat tricks and ranks 10th with 24 game-winning goals.
"I've always been fortunate to have great teammates and coaches throughout my career," Shanahan said. "At every level I have tried to learn and my key to success was having people around me that helped me impove my game."
Shanahan finished his career with 656 goals and 698 assists for 1,354 points in 1,524 games.
He won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, including back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. He also won an Olympic gold medal for Team Canada in 2002 and was the quintessential scoring power winger of his era. Shanahan started his career with the Devils, went on to play in St. Louis, Hartford, Detroit and for the New York Rangers before ending his playing career back in New Jersey.
Shanahan, 44, remains the only player in NHL history with more than 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes.
Also headed for the Hall of Fame are Geraldine Heaney, the third woman to be enshrined in the hall, and coach Fred Shero, who led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and '75. He was selected posthumously in the builder category.
"There's no sense looking back as to why it didn't happen sooner, because today's a happy day to celebrate the fact that a guy that deserves it immensely has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said.
Chelios and Niedermayer earned hockey's biggest individual honor in their first year of eligibility.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for November.
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.
Among the game's best U.S.-born players, Chelios won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman three times. The Chicagoan split much of his career with three storied franchises in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit and was asked which team he will be affiliated when he is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"U.S.A.," he said.
Heaney was a defenseman on Canada's gold-medal-winning team at the 2002 Olympics and is considered one of the best female players in history.
"As a young girl playing hockey, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be going into the hall," she said.