The Hockey Hall of Fame is revamping its bylaws in a move that signals it is ready to admit its first female player.
Starting in 2010, the Hall will consider male and female candidates separately. The new bylaw will allow a maximum of four men and two women to be inducted each year.
Currently there is a maximum of four player inductees and women are judged and considered against men.
"The new voting procedures address the basic principle and general view among the board of directors and selection committee that men and women ought not to compete directly against each other for limited places of honoured membership," Hall chairman Bill Hay said in a statement.
"It creates fair conditions for all candidates while reinforcing that the existing basis for selection and requisite standards of excellence be applied equally to both genders."
The Hall has also clarified wording to allow candidates in the builder category to be anyone who has served the game in a significant capacity. A maximum of two builders can be part of each induction class.