Perhaps, according to one member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, it shouldn't have taken Doug Wilson or Kevin Lowe two decades or more to be bestowed the sport's highest individual honor.
Brian Burke, a longtime executive in the NHL and a Hall of Fame committee member since 2012, told Sportsnet radio in Calgary on Thursday that it might have been a mistake to not elect Wilson and Lowe sooner. Both were elected Wednesday, along with Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kim St-Pierre and Ken Holland.
Wilson, who retired as a player in 1993 after a 16-year NHL career that included a Norris Trophy in 1982, was in his 24th year of eligibility. Lowe, who was on six Stanley Cup championship teams and played 1,254 regular-season games over 19 years, was in his 20th year.
"I think it was an oversight," Burke said. "I don't think it's a case of, 'We've got to find a way to fit these guys in.' These guys are legitimate hall of famers and I think it was an oversight that they were out this long."
Hockey's unique Hall of Fame selection process played a role in the long delay.
The selection committee has 18 members, a mixture of executives, media and former players and coaches. Committee members are allowed to nominate no more than one individual in the Player Category, the Builder Category and the Referee or Linesman Category. Those nominations must be filed with the Chair of the Board of Directors or Selection Committee no later than midnight ET on April 15 of each year.
The committee can select a maximum of four male players, two female players, and either two builders or one builder and one referee or linesman. All nominated candidates needed to receive at least 14 votes (75%) to get in.
Perhaps because of those maximum totals, candidates for the Hall can remain eligible for election indefinitely.
"What I like about our thing is that you're never out of the running," Burke said.
It is unknown how many times Wilson or Lowe might have been nominated before this year. Selection committee members, as Eric Duhatschek noted in The Athletic earlier this week, are "asked to sign a confidentiality agreement that forbids you from revealing in public what was said in the committee meetings."