Messier leads Hockey Hall of Fame class |

Messier leads Hockey Hall of Fame class

Ron Frehm/AP Photoew York Rangers Mark Messier celebrates his second period goal against the Vancouver Canucks in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 14, 1994.

TORONTO ” The Hockey Hall of Fame is set to welcome one of its finest classes ever.

Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens will go in as players this fall, while NHL executive Jim Gregory will enter as a builder.

“I’m very honored to go in with a class like this,” Francis said.

Messier, the NHL’s second-leading career scorer, was a slam-dunk selection after a career in which he won six Stanley Cups. Only Wayne Gretzky has recorded more points.

All four players elected Thursday were on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Other eligible players who didn’t make it included Adam Oates, Igor Larionov and Claude Lemieux.

Francis, two-time Stanley Cup winner and veteran of 23 NHL seasons, is fourth on the points list and trails only Gretzky on the all-time assists list.

MacInnis, another 23-season veteran, is third all-time in points by defensemen and helped Calgary to the Stanley Cup in 1989. And Stevens won three Cups with the New Jersey Devils.

Gregory, a senior vice-president with the league, served as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1969 to 1979 before running the NHL’s Central Scouting department.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Nov. 12.

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