Neal Henderson

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Bettman, Thomas among U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman headlines the 2019 class of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bettman, former Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, longtime NHL forward Brian Gionta, Washington youth hockey staple Neal Henderson and U.S women’s star Krissy Wendell will be inducted at a ceremony Dec. 12. Bettman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto last year.

Thomas in 2011 became the second American and the oldest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2011 when he led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup. He made headlines for skipping the trip to see then-President Barack Obama in the White House and has been virtually invisible since walking away from hockey in 2014.

Gionta put up 595 points in 16 NHL seasons and won the Cup with New Jersey in 2003. He represented the U.S. in the 2006 and 2018 Olympics.

Henderson in 1978 co-founded the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the oldest minority hockey club in North America, and was part of the NHL’s launch of its “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.

Wendell won two NCAA titles at Minnesota and ranks fourth all-time with 2.35 points a game. She put up 247 points in 147 international games, was the MVP of the 2005 world championships when the U.S. won gold for the first time and served as captain at the 2006 Olympics.

Hockey Day Preview: Neal Henderson helps kids through hockey in Washington, D.C. (Video)

Part of Hockey Day In America is showing how hockey makes itself present in all areas of the country. Earlier today, we took a look the roots of hockey in Minnesota with pond hockey. While pond hockey is how many kids got their start playing hockey there, in Washington, D.C. there’s a man named Neal Henderson who’s doing his part to help clean up his hometown as well as giving the inner city kids a new outlet to channel their energy into.

Henderson runs the Fort Dupont Hockey Club in Washington and he spends his time bringing the game of hockey to the kids who join the Fort Dupont Club. While some kids in the city will head down the wrong path in life without proper guidance, Neal Henderson has spent the last 30 years helping boys and girls in the D.C. area get a start down the right road through hockey. His story about what he’s done for the kids in D.C. is one worth getting to know. Check out our video talking about what he’s done.

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