HHOF Profile: Phil Housley

12 May 2001:  Phil Housley of USA skates with the puck during the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship game between USA and Sweden in the Preussag Arena in Hannover, Germany.  Mandatory Credit: Stuart Franklin /Allsport

Sometimes hall of fame nominees defy any logic at all and Phil Housley is one of those nominees but for the best reason possible.

Housley was eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006 and many thought that he had a good shot of getting that call.

He never did in that year and still many thought that despite the snub he was sure to make the hall the next time around.

Year after year the defenceman stood by the phone with many people expecting that he was going to get the call.

Yet year after year no call came and it became one of the biggest mysteries in the Hall of Fame because Housley was no ordinary player.

In 1982 the Buffalo Sabres took Housley sixth overall in the NHL draft and he immediately began making an impact.

He was a rarity at the time as the second highest drafted American in NHL history, only beat by Bobby Carpenter who was drafted third overall the year before.

He was given a shot immediately entering the NHL with the Sabres in 1982 and showed that he could be an offensive force from the blueline.

He played some forward while he was with the Sabres but mainly he played on the blue line and still put up big numbers.

That year he came second in the rookie of the year voting and one of the greatest American careers began.

Housley did not stay anywhere for very long as he travelled around the NHL in his 21 years in the league.

Despite his resume that includes eight different teams, including two stints in Calgary, he was consistently one of the best in the league.

He had the ability to stay at home and play great defence but at the same time jump into the rush when needed and score goals.

He enters the Hall of Fame 13 years after he retired and he remains near the top of the scoring rankings for American players.

Only Brett Hull and Mike Modano rank above him for scoring and he is far from any other American defenceman in the league.

He also has the fourth most points all-time for a defenceman in the league regardless of nationality.

Not only did he have success in the league but he was also a member of Team USA in multiple international tournaments including the 1996 World Cup when USA won the Gold.phil

Despite simply being one of the best American-born players in the history of the NHL and certainly the best American-born defenceman he never got the call.

It is the mysterious ways of the hall of fame and any hall of fame as some great players never seem to find their way there.

No matter the accomplishments or the stats or the championships great players sit in a long list of potential hall of famers without making it in to the hall.

Housley was part of that list and for many counted as one of biggest snubs in the HHOF history.

There are plenty of potential reasons for the snub but one of the biggest is also one of the strangest.

Housley was not the most media savvy players when he was in the NHL and often preferred to stay away from the media.

When they did talk to him he gave them almost nothing and was always short with them.

The same media that tried to get him to say something are the ones who have held his hall of fame fate in their hands.

There are plenty of examples where these media members look at a name like Housley and pick another great over him because they never got along.

It can mean the difference when a player goes up against other greats and as good as Housley was he often came up against other great players.

When comparing the two media and voting members may have very well sided with the one that they liked better.

That and the fact that he rarely won any major championships kept him out of the hall of fame for years.

Now one of the greatest American players in the history of the NHL has found his way to Yonge Street and will take his rightful place among the best players in the history of the NHL.


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