Selection of all-time world all-star team is bound to spark discussion

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Wayne Gretzky with Peter Forsberg and Valeri Kharlamov up front, Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexandre Ragulin on defence and Vladislav Tretiak in goal.

Perhaps. Others will suggest variations, and the International Ice Hockey Federation has enlisted 56 hockey experts from around the world to get it right.

An all-time global all-star team will be announced during an IIHF gala in Quebec City when the world championship tournament is held in Canada for the first time next spring. Games also will be played in Halifax.

The IIHF has a myriad of events going on during its 100th year, and the beautifully-illustrated book "World of Hockey" put together by Fenn Publishing of Bolton, Ont., was unveiled at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday as former NHL and international stars Peter Stastny, Borje Salming and Ron Ellis looked on.

"If nothing else, it's going to cause some discussion if not arguments," Canadian IIHF executive council member Murray Costello of Ottawa said of the all-star selections.

To be picked, a player "must have had an outstanding playing career and significant impact in international ice hockey over a period of at least a decade."

The criteria would disqualify most members of Canada's 1972 Summit Series squad.

"That's certainly going to narrow the field," said Ellis. "It wouldn't be surprise me if the two gentlemen who were here (Salming and Stastny) would be on that team, in my estimation.

"But the Russians were very strong. Not a lot of Canadians have played international hockey for 10 years."

Gretzky certainly qualifies after representing Canada over a nearly 20-year span. Mario Lemieux would fit the criteria, too, as would Jari Kurri, Dom Hasek and many more Europeans.

"It's going to be interesting," said Ellis.

The HHOF staffer is also intrigued by the IIHF's plan to have an NHL club, preferably the Stanley Cup champion, play a European club champion for a new trophy, the Victoria Cup, next September.

"That's the future, I think," said Ellis. "I think we're going to one day see an NHL division in Europe, which would be wonderful.

"Then we're going to have hockey at its best."

Ellis wore the Maple Leaf in 1977 in Vienna after Canada was first allowed to use pros.

"I had that opportunity and I cherish it," said Ellis.

The annual world tournament will once again be overshadowed by the NHL playoffs but Ellis predicts it will be well-received in Canada.

"I know I never missed a game on TV when they were playing in Europe and I don't want to miss one when it's here."

Costello pointed out that winning the world title will be especially tough for Canada's team this time because no home team has won the IIHF men's senior championship since 1986.

The HHOF has opened an expanded international hockey exhibit to mark the IIHF centennial. The world governing body was formed during a May 1908 meeting in Paris.



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