Marian Hossa's name was on the Hockey Hall of Fame ballot for the Class of 2020 and he didn't have to wait very long to hear his name called. In fact, he didn't have to wait at all.
Hossa was at his home in Slovakia on Wednesday and gave his wife a heads up around dinner time that there might be a call coming from an unknown Canadian number, but it wasn't guaranteed. At roughly 9 p.m. in Slovakia, shortly before the official announcement, reality set in for Hossa after he received a call from chairman of the board Lanny McDonald that every player dreams of getting: You're a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
"It's a phone call [my wife and I] will never forget," Hossa said on a conference call. "It was an amazing moment."
Hossa played 19 seasons in the NHL, where he recorded 1,134 points in 1,309 games with five different teams. He ranks 35th all-time in goals (525) and was the 80th player in league history to hit the 1,000-point mark, but he'll be the first to tell you winning three Stanley Cups in Chicago trumps any individual accolade.
Heck, just one was good enough for Hossa after falling short in back-to-back years prior to winning it at all with the Blackhawks in 2010.
"Unbelievable moment of my career," said Hossa, who's the only player in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final in three consecutive seasons with three different teams. "Finally, after three times in the Stanley Cup Final, I lifted the Stanley Cup above my head and Jonathan Toews gave me the Cup right after. What a great memory. I still have a picture in my office from the first time I touched the Stanley Cup."
While his career was cut short because of a progressive skin disorder, Hossa certainly left his mark in hockey and accomplished all he needed to before hanging up the skates. You could tell how much the honor meant to him as he reflected on his career and Hall of Fame vote.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to start playing in the 1997-98 National Hockey League and I never thought I would have an amazing career," Hossa said. "My dream came true when I won the first Stanley Cup. This is definitely something special to be in the top, top players and the people in [the] National Hockey League. This means so much to me. I'm humbled and really grateful."
After Hossa was announced as part of the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Class, his former teammates chimed in on social media — including Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — to offer their congratulations and express their appreciation for what he did for them and the sport. It's impossible to find somebody inside the hockey community that has a bad word to say about Hossa.
And as if Chicago needed another reason to fall in love with him, Hossa provided one final mic drop on Wednesday.
One hour after the announcement, all six members jumped on a conference call for a Q&A session with the media. The call lasted almost two hours. At the 110-minute mark, Hossa finished answering a question then admitted: "It's 1 a.m. here and I'm having a first bottle of wine already done and I don't know how long this press conference will go, so good luck to me."
A true Hall of Famer, both on and off the ice.