The five newest members of the Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame made their impact during the sport's most successful era in the city's history.
Three members of the third class of the hall of fame that was announced on Tuesday were major parts of the famed Toledo Goaldiggers, a franchise that existed from 1974-86. The team that sported distinctive gold and green jerseys captured four International Hockey League championships (1975, 1978, 1982, and 1983).
Goaldiggers coach Bill Inglis, center Jim McCabe, and defenseman Dave Falkenberg will be inducted next month along with defenseman Bill Mitchell (Mercurys, Blades, Hornets) and coach Andy Mulligan (Babcocks, Mercurys, Buckeyes).
The legends will be inducted during Toledo Hockey Heritage Weekend before the Walleye game on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Huntington Center that will include a banner-raising ceremony.
Neil Neukam, the Walleye's executive vice president and general manager, said each of the newest inductees made a tremendous impact.
“When you look back at Toledo’s hockey history and the mark these five men made in the game of hockey and for Toledo, it makes us honored to raise a banner with their names and induct them as the third hall of fame class,” Neukam said.
McCabe, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., spent all six of his seasons as a pro in Toledo. He helped the Goaldiggers win Turner Cups in 1975 and 1978. McCabe, who was nicknamed “the Tin Man” and later settled in Toledo, is second on the all-time Goaldiggers scoring list.
“Jim McCabe, was known for his scoring and great sportsmanship,” Neukam said.
Inglis led the Diggers for four seasons and guided them to back-to-back IHL titles in 1982 and 1983. The Ottawa, Ont. native played in 36 career NHL games and was head coach of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1978-79 season.
“Bill Inglis followed in the footsteps of legendary Goaldiggers coach Ted Garvin with two Turner Cup championships,” Neukam said.
Falkenberg, an offensively skilled defenseman, played seven seasons for the Goaldiggers and played in 593 career games. The native of Red Deer, Alberta helped the Goaldiggers win back-to-back Turner Cups in 1982 and 1983.
“Dave Falkenberg displayed a great combination of scoring and toughness,” Neukam said.
Mulligan, who was one of the founders of pro hockey in Toledo, played on the city's first semi-pro team called the Babcocks. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native later led the Mercurys to three Turner Cup titles (1948, 1951, and 1952). After the Mercurys folded in 1962, he became commissioner of the IHL from 1962-67.
“We wouldn’t have such a rich hockey tradition here in Toledo without the tremendous contributions by Andy Mulligan,” Neukam said.
Mitchell played a total of 13 seasons for Toledo's pro teams and won titles with the Blades in 1964 and 1967. The native of Port Dalhousie, Ont. scored 110 goals with 249 assists and also served as head coach of the Toledo Blades in 1969-70 and Toledo Hornets in 1970-71.
“Bill Mitchell’s impact was felt over three decades with three different teams,” Neukam said.
A committee of former players, coaches, team historians, and media determined the list of 23 nominees for consideration. The subsequent selection of members was then determined by the committee with input from the public during the voting phase.
The members of last year's hall of fame class were William “Chick” Chalmers (Blades and Hornets), Greg Jablonski (Blades/Hornets), Paul Tantardini (Goaldiggers), Dirk Graham (Goaldiggers), and Mark Deazeley (Storm).
The inaugural class members, who were inducted in January of 2016, were Virgil Gladieux (Mercurys/Buckeyes/Blades/ Hornets/Goaldiggers), Glenn Ramsay (Mercurys/Blades/Hornets), Ted Garvin (Goaldiggers), Rick Judson (Storm), and Kyle Rogers (Walleye).
For the first time, no player from the Toledo Storm (1991-2007) was selected for induction. The ECHL team won championships in 1993 and 1994.
A hall of fame induction luncheon will be held on Feb. 24 at the Huntington Center at 1:30 pm. Tickets are $36 and include the luncheon and the Walleye game. For more information go to ToledoWalleye.com.
The current Walleye players will be wearing throw-back Goaldiggers jerseys for their games against Atlanta that weekend.
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