The United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced its impressive 2015 class on Monday: Chris Drury, Angela Ruggiero, Mathieu Schneider and builder Ron DeGregorio.
Ruggiero is a trailblazer in women’s hockey, especially for the U.S. She won four Olympic medals, including a gold in Nagano. USA Hockey notes that her 256 games in a Team USA uniform tops any other player in the country’s history.
She also joined the Hockey Hall of Fame, so this has been a big year of recognition for Ruggiero.
Drury (pictured) might as well be synonymous with “winning.” He always seemed to find himself in the right spot to score big goals during his hockey career, so it’s no surprise that he enjoyed such team success: an NCAA title with Boston University in 1995, a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001 and strong international work. He’s also the only player to win a Calder Trophy and Hobey Baker Award.
Schneider won a Stanley Cup himself with Montreal in 1993 and was part of the World Cup of Hockey team that won it all in 1996. He was a two-time All-Star.
Here is a quick excerpt from a write-up for DeGregorio from USA Hockey:
Ron DeGregorio has helped shape American hockey for more than 40 years as one the most prominent volunteers in the history of USA Hockey and has conceived programs that have resulted in acclaim from around the world.
While DeGregorio’s ingenuity is evident in many areas, perhaps his most significant concept was starting USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in 1996. A lightning rod for criticism when it was established, the NTDP has evolved into a revered program that has significantly enhanced elite player development and U.S. success in international competition.
American hockey is in such a great place right now that it’s no longer a shocker to see a guy like Patrick Kane or Zach Parise light up the NHL. Still, some believe that the likes of Mike Modano represented a golden era for their nation, so today was a special day for that group as Modano, Ed Olczyk and Lou Lamoriello were inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Olczyk discusses that great honor in the video below.
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According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Mike Modano is “expected to be among the names announced” when the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame names its 2012 inductees on Wednesday.
If accurate, the decision won’t be much of a surprise. The 42-year-old is the all-time goals and points leader among American-born NHL players.
Modano also routinely represented the U.S. internationally, winning a gold medal at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Modano retired after an injury-riddled 2010-11 season in Detroit. He’d signed with the Wings at age 40 after spending 20 years with the Minnesota/Dallas organization and still remains the Stars’ all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played.
Built in 1973, the U.S. HHOF honors outstanding coaches, players, builders and administrators that contributed to the success and promotion of American Hockey.
Last year’s inductees included NHL on NBC analyst Mike “Doc” Emrick along with ex-NHLers Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Gary Suter. Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider was also inducted.
As for the 2012 class, other possible inductees (based on who finished their playing careers in 2011) include Doug Weight, Chris Drury and Brian Rafalski.
Mike “Doc” Emrick didn’t grow up dreaming of calling some of the biggest moments in hockey. He was a baseball “fanatic” until Dec. 10, 1960, when he fell in love with the sport. Fans of his ecstatic style and verbose descriptions should be thankful for that transformation, as Emrick earned an induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Dec. 12.
NHL.com’s Mike Morreale points out that Emrick is the first media member to receive that honor, as he is part of a class that includes Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, Keith Tkachuk and Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider.
Emrick won a 2004 Lester Patrick Award, a 2008 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and a 2011 Emmy for play-by-play work. Morreale points out that Emrick has broadcasted games for every major American broadcast network, 13 Stanley Cup finals and 23 playoff Game 7 matches in nearly 40 years of announcing.
This excerpt from Morreale’s story captures Emrick’s undeniable passion for the sport.
“I marvel at guys who can use unnatural extensions — their stick off their arm and skates off their feet,” he said. “And to be able to do it at 30 mph, shoot at 100 mph and collide with people inside a walled-in area. The fact there are occasional outbreaks of temper proves that morality still works every once in a while.
“All of these things thrown together just make it a fascinating human experience in watching the sport. I’ve been married to Joyce for 33 years and [a love for hockey is] almost like trying to explain why you love your wife so much. It’s one of those things that’s not terribly cerebral; it’s really a part of the heart. That’s probably the best way to explain why I love the sport so much.”
Getting elected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame is a special moment for any American that’s dedicated their playing life or career to the game. For the class of five that was elected to USA Hockey’s highest honor this year, it’s a whopper of an induction class. Former players Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, and Keith Tkachuk are joined by NBC lead play-by-play voice Mike “Doc” Emrick and Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider.
Chelios goes in perhaps as the biggest name after spending 20+ years in the NHL as a three time Stanley Cup champion and three time Norris Trophy defenseman as well as playing college hockey at the University of Wisconsin and on four U.S. Olympic teams his career is truly a wonder to behold. He’ll eventually be a Hockey Hall of Famer in Toronto, but this year he gets to live his glory out in the United States as one of the greatest Americans to play the game.
Gary Suter played for 17 seasons in the NHL playing for the Flames, Blackhawks, and Sharks. In that time he put up 203 goals and 844 points as a defenseman. Teaming up with the likes of Chelios and Al MacInnis in his career, Suter was the perfect complimentary defenseman mixing in offense with the kind of snarl on the blue line coaches salivate over. Suter also played at the University of Wisconsin in college and played for Team USA in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics.
Keith Tkachuk made a big name for himself as one of the top power forwards in the NHL suiting up for the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, and for a brief stint with the Atlanta Thrashers. In his NHL career, Tkachuk piled up 538 goals and 1,065 assists over 18 NHL seasons. While Tkachuk never hoisted the Stanley Cup, his career as one of the best power forwards through the 1990s and early 2000s was cemented. Tkachuk’s best seasons came while with the Jets/Coyotes but he made himself into a folk hero in St. Louis. Tkachuk also got his start in hockey playing for one season at Boston University and as a Melrose, Massachusetts native, sticking close to home from the get-go got him off on the right foot, one that saw him play four times for Team USA in the Olympics.
Doc Emrick we know all about here at NBC and ProHockeyTalk. A gentleman of the game and one of the best on-air ambassadors you’ll find in hockey spent over 20 years as the lead play-by-play voice for the New Jersey Devils. During that time, Emrick also became the voice of the NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup finals working as the lead play-by-play man for NBC and Versus. Emrick’s professionalism in all things has helped him become the voice of the NHL now as he takes over as the full-time play-by-play voice for NBC and Versus this year.
Ed Snider is the long time owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and as the man at the helm of one of the NHL’s iconic franchises, he’s also helped become a leader in growing the game of hockey in eastern Pennsylvania and across the country. Snider, already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, now gets his just deserving in the United States. Snider’s ability to help grow the game and establishing the Flyers as one of the top franchises in the NHL are all the proof you need to see why he’s being enshrined.