The Monday after the draft came and seemingly like clockwork, there’s another former Calgary Flame heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Former Flames winger Sergei Makarov was announced on Monday afternoon as one of four inductees in the Class of 2016. He’ll be formally inducted in November.
Born in Chelyabinsk, USSR (now Russia), Makarov grew up around the game and was recruited into the powerhouse Red Army hockey team. He played 11 seasons with that club from 1978 to 1989, producing at well over a point-per-game pace. By the time Makarov finally came to the NHL in 1989 – six years after the Flames selected him 231st overall – he was nearly a legendary figure.
Two schools of thought were whispered in school playgrounds:
- Holy cow, Makarov is coming! He’s one of the best players in the world!
- No he’s not, the Russians aren’t that good, they just keep trouncing bad European teams!
When he finally tugged on a Flames #42 jersey in 1989-90, Makarov put all doubts to rest. He wasn’t quite the mythical on-ice figure that tormented teams during his 20s as part of the famed KLM line (with Vladimir Krutov and Igor Larionov), but he was a point-per-game player during his first three seasons in the NHL despite having a fair amount of miles on his body. (His Calder Trophy winning performance as a 31-year-old prompted the NHL to change the rules, putting an age restriction on the award half-jokingly referred to henceforth as the “Makarov Rule.”)
Honestly? Growing up, Makarov was my second favourite Flame aside from Theoren Fleury – until Rick Tabaracci showed up, but that’s another story. Makarov was just so fluid as a player. He had obviously lost a step by the time he hit the NHL – either that or the VHS tapes we saw of the Soviet team were somehow sped up – but he just seemed to find space where few others could (and he often found teammates for passes when most others wouldn’t be able to).
Sergei Makarov: #42 in your programs, #42 in your hearts, and yet another representation of the Flames in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
FLAMES IN THE HALL
- 1992: Lanny McDonald, Bob Johnson
- 2000: Joe Mullen
- 2003: Grant Fuhr
- 2004: Cliff Fletcher
- 2006: Harley Hotchkiss
- 2007: Al MacInnis
- 2009: Brett Hull
- 2010: Daryl “Doc” Seaman
- 2011: Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk
- 2015: Phil Housley, Bill Hay
- 2016: Sergei Makarov