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A Night of 1,000 Memories

By Harry Thompson, 12/10/21, 1:00PM MST

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U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Ceremony A Time To Reflect On The Past And Look To The Future

A night meant to honor the individual accomplishments of the newest members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame turned into a celebration of the American player and the great strides they have made over the years.

Each member of the Class of 2020 and 2021, along with the recipients of the Lester Patrick Award, used their time in the spotlight at the Denver Marriott Tech Center to talk about how far the game has come over the course of their Hall of Fame careers and the pride they feel with being associated with USA Hockey and playing a role in making the game better for the next generation of player.

On a night that featured 1,000 memories and even more laughs, here are some of the moments that stood out during the 2021 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Class of 2021

Class of 2020

“From the time my dad put skates on me at 4 years old I just fell in love with skating and fell in love with the game. My path was never planned out, it was never designed. It was a day-by-day survival trip.”

New Haven, Conn., native Jack Barzee, the 2021 recipient of the Lester Patrick Award Jack Barzee on his 50-year career as an advocate for the American player

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“It was absolutely fantastic, the icing on the cake for all the work we had done over the years to get ice hockey into the Olympics. To see it happen at the Olympics was just glorious, absolutely wonderful. I wish I had been there but I was definitely watching of course.”

Girls and women’s hockey pioneer Lynn Olson, the 2020 recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, talking about the U.S. Women’s Team winning the first Olympic gold in 1998

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“I don’t think at the time you realize how big of an impact it had on girls’ hockey and hockey across the world. It really served as a springboard for the growth of women’s ice hockey, which to me is super awesome.”

Four-time Olympian Jenny Potter, a member of the Class of 2020, talking about the impact that winning Olympic gold in 1998 had on the growth of girls’ and women’s hockey

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“I never thought of anything like this was would happen to me. I was in the business of writing. I wrote about hockey and I loved it. I played some hockey, but not well, and I got into TV and it was a dream, watching hockey, talking about hockey, sleeping and breathing hockey. I never thought I would get any reward because the reward was in the writing and being there and mixing with hockey guys.”

Long-time hockey author and TV personality Stan Fischler on being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021

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“As an American who played in the NHL I’m extremely proud to have played in the league, but I’m even more proud of the influx of American players in the NHL and I know it’s only going to get better.”

St. Paul, Minn., native and 10-year NHL player Paul Holmgren on the strides Americans have made in the game

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“When I was a player, our coach Snooks Kelley wouldn’t recruit a player if he couldn’t get the Boston Globe. Now you don’t have to pack your winter coat when you recruit players in Texas or Florida. It’s just such a different landscape today.”

Boston College head coach Jerry York, the winningest coach in college hockey, on the growth of game

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“When we were growing up we knew three things. We knew we loved each other, we loved the game of hockey and we loved the Chicago Blackhawks. I don’t know what order those three were in.”

Downers Grove, Ill., native Tony Granato on his family’s love of the game

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“When I told my father that I was going into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, he said’ it’s about time. I’m 94 years old and I’m not going to last forever.’”

International Falls, Minn., native Dean Blais talking about when his father he was being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

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“My love of hockey started on the outdoor ice in Edina and St. Louis Park and that love is what brought me here today.”

Four-time Olympian Jenny Potter on her path to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

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“My wife Shirley was tremendous. We were very lucky throughout our marriage that we both loved the game. She loved the game as much as I did, and then she got to know the game better than I did. And if I had any doubts about that, she would tell me.”

Long-time hockey author and broadcast Stan Fischler talking about his partnership with his wife, Shirley, who passed away in 2014

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“I thought about coaching early enough in my career. I was fortunate that some spots opened up and it kind of went from there. But in terms of all those other positions, I could never have imagined that. But coaching was good because you’re still on the bench, you're still in the action. Still, nothing beats playing.”

Paul Holmgren talking about his 46-year career with the Philadelphia Flyers

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“I don’t think we ever thought about becoming great players, but just to have fun opportunities in the game and do the best we could to make the most of our opportunities. I think that’s what we look back on and are proud of each other and how we were able to help each other along the way.”

Tony Granato on his family’s involvement in hockey

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“So many people who had an impact on Peter’s life and when he is feeling better he will surely thank them in person.”

David McNab, speaking for his brother of Peter McNab, who was unable to attend the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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“Badger Bob recruited me and then I played for Jeff Sauer. The one thing that I remember from both of them was the game of hockey is supposed to be fun. And you’re supposed to play it because you love the game, not because you’re trying to be somebody or you're trying to make something of it.”

University of Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato on the lessons he learned at his alma mater

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“When I was still playing, I didn’t really realize how big of an impact all the volunteers were having on my future and the next generation of kids. Now that I sit on the USA Hockey board of directors I see that and can’t thank them enough.”

Jenny Potter talking about the contributions of the unsung heroes in the game

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“We’ve gone from finishing 7th or 8th at international tournaments to now challenging at every age division. That’s where USA Hockey is right now.”

Dean Blais, who led the U.S. to its first-ever gold medal on Canadian soil in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship

Past Inductees

USHHOF Museum

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame News