Ice hockey undoubtedly is sport number one in Canada, and Toronto is not an exception. The city Hockey Hall of Fame, featuring everything about ice hockey in Canada from historic NHL trophies to interactive games, represents a playground arena for everybody who is in love with this purely Canadian sport or just wants to know more about the past and present of ice hockey both in Canada and internationally.
The first all-Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame was established in Toronto in 1961 at the Exhibition Place. Initial curators of the Hall, Bobby Hewitson and later Maurice "Lefty" Reid, made every effort to collect and preserve every available exhibit and every bit of information representing past and contemporary history of ice hockey - the philosophy which still continues to drive Toronto Hall of Fame. Presently, this living museum of hockey occupies an entire building and is considered one of the primary attractions for visitors of Toronto. It is a must for very Canadian to visit this famous Hall of Fame at least once in their lifetimes to marvel at ice hockey artefacts and memorabilia, see the original Stanley Cup donated to the Hall in 1893 by Lord Stanley, Max Bentley's hockey stick, and Newsy Lalonde's pair of skates, or visit a replica of the Montreal Canadians' locker room. Alternatively, hockey enthusiasts among the visitors can show their shooting skills or even try a role of a goalie. Collector's Corner occupying 400 square feet of space and featuring numerous collection hockey items from stamps to coins, is a recent addition to the Hall of Fame, as well as established in 2006 the $20 million NHL Zone.
A hockey star, a player, builder, or referee, can be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame by being nominated by majority of the selection committee. Originally, a three-year waiting period, or "a period of expectations", was established, which was waved for ten exceptionately notable players of the past: Dit Clapper, Maurice Richard, Ted Lindsay, Red Kelly, Terry Sawchuk, Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky. After Wayne Gretzky's retirement in 1999, it was announced that the waiting period would no longer be waived for any player. In the last decade, some of outstanding international ice hockey players, such as Valerii Kharlamov from Russia, have been honoured to be inducted to the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame, too. From among non-Canadians, there are seven members from the U.S. and three - from the former USSR, as well as the greatest players from Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, England, Scotland, Australia, and even Taiwan. Players from such Canadian teams as Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have the biggest representation in the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame.