TORONTO (AP) – Former Boston Bruins star Cam Neely, the late Valeri Kharlamov and Murray Costello were named to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Neely and Kharlamov, a former Russian superstar who died in 1981, will enter in the players category. Costello, former president of the Canadian Hockey Association, goes in as a builder, or someone who contributed to the advancement of the game.

Among those eligible not selected for induction were Glenn Anderson, Steve Larmer, Dino Ciccarelli, Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson.

Neely, a hard-hitting, sharp-shooting power forward, was drafted in 1983 by Vancouver. He played 13 seasons – three in Vancouver and his last 10 in Boston – and scored 50 or more goals three times.

His career was cut short by health problems that began with a thigh injury in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals.

“I can’t quite fathom yet what this means,” Neely said. “Being in the Hall with all the other great players is quite an honor.”

With the 2004-05 season lost to a lockout, he gave Boston fans a reminder of some of the better times in hockey’s history in the city.

“Hockey’s really taken a beating,” Neely said. “This is a nice way, especially locally maybe, of getting people talking about hockey again.”

He played in a total of just 22 games in the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons and made an amazing comeback during the 1993-94 season, reaching 50 goals in his 44th game – third-fastest in NHL history.

He retired in 1996 because of chronic hip problems and the Bruins retired his No. 8 jersey in 2004.

“Power forwards before Cam were guys who were powerful who didn’t necessarily score,” Bruins general manager Mike O’Connell said. “He was a power forward who could score. He defined it (the position).

“It was a shame that we didn’t get to see more of him, but we got the best.”

Neely said he didn’t give a lot of thought to his prospects for being formally named one of hockey’s all-time greats.

“I learned a long time ago if you can’t control things, there’s no need to waste time thinking and worrying about it,” he said. Everything I have today is from the game of hockey.”

Kharlamov was killed in an auto accident and never got the chance to play in North America. Speedy, smart and crafty, he became known in North America during the 1972 series between the Soviets and Canada. In Game 6, he had his ankle broken by Canadian Bobby Clarke, also a Hall of Famer.

“Thank you to everybody who selected my father,” Kharlamov’s son, Alexander, said from Moscow. “I can’t believe it.”

A former NHL player, Costello made his greatest contributions to the sport after he retired. He finished law school and joined the Canadian Hockey Association, serving as president for 19 years. Costello also was a member of the Hall of Fame’s selection committee and board of directors and was an active member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

“I never envisioned it would end up like this,” he said from his Ottawa home. “To see myself among the people in that Hall is difficult to comprehend.”

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 7.



AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Boston contributed to this report.

AP-ES-06-08-05 1931EDT


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