Former Flame Sergei Makarov is headed to the Hall of Fame

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
  • The GREAT Walter White

    I have no problem with Makarov winning the Calder at age 31…..or Panarin at age 24.

    I’m glad Gretzky didn’t win it; he was clearly not eligible…..

    WW

    • KACaribou

      To be fair; Wayne had played pro hockey (WHA), and due to a technicality Mak “Hadn’t” because he was an “amateur” for Red Army even though he was 31 and the best years of his career were long over.

      Meanwhile Wayne was not eligible at 19 years of age I believe, and he had 51 goals, 86 assists, and 137 pts to tie HHOF Legend Marcel Dionne for the scoring title. (Dionne officially won because he had two more goals).

      The Calder and scoring titles were practically the last things Gretzky didn’t win.

  • KACaribou

    One of the best stick-handlers I ever saw.

    Nice highlight package. KLM line… WOW! Wish we had Makarov 10 years earlier in his hockey career. He was good as a Flame, he was brilliant before.

  • Dan the flames fan

    As long as Theo Fluery is excluded from the nominations or the HHOF, I will not respect it. He was the smallest NHLER to score 50 goals in a season, holds the record for 3 short handed goals in one game, and had over 1 ppg throughout his career. He had his issues that are well documented, but he not only recovered but continues to help others come through the trauma. He should be acknowledged not only for his on-ice accomplishments, but for his resilience and perseverance. I congratulate Makarov but remember Theo.

  • Mullen Mania

    In my second year of university, at the UofC, I was living in residence. The year was 1989 and one of the guys on my floor was good friends with Makarov’s interpreter. A few of us would often go to a local outdoor rink (or sometimes got time inside) for a pick up game of hockey. The interpreter would sometimes invite Makarov to join us, and he did more than once. He spoke very little English, so I never really talked to him, but will always remember him giving me the head nod when I made a good play. He was obviously highly skilled, had amazing hands, and did not require much effort to compete with us. His love of the game was obvious and he always seemed to being enjoying himself. It was a thrill for us as young men to have him join us and it will always stay a lasting memory for me.

    Congrats Sergei! Well deserved.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Good to hear the former Flame was fianlly added. As good as he was in Calgary, he was an unbeleiveaby talent in his Russian league. The KLM line was incredible to watch.

    Pat Quinn seems to have been forgotten by Flames fans, which is too bad. Quinn was the claimed by the Atlanta Flames in their expansion draft in 1972 and served as the team captain until he retired. Tip of the hat to Pat Quinn as well.

  • NHL93

    My Grandpa (an massive Oilers fan) always wanted to see Makarov as a centre, due to his amazing ability to pass the puck and create time and space for his linemates. I guess when Larionov was your centre in the Red Army, you stick to the wing.

    Anyone remember Krutov? Didn’t he go to Vancouver and get really fat? I may be misremembering. I was in Junior-high at the time.

    • Joe Flames

      Krutov was a good player, but when he came to the NHL (Vancouver) it seemed that he just wanted the cash. He was out of shape and played like he didn’t care at all. Maybe playing for the Canucks did it 🙂