ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Some of the biggest names in USA Hockey flocked to Minnesota’s capital on Wednesday, Nov. 30 for the 50th anniversary of the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame.
The five-member Class of 2022 included former players Steve Cash, twin sisters Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Ryan Miller, as well as longtime executive Jim Johannson.
Chris Chelios, Natalie Darwitz, Phil Housley, Lou Nanne and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were just a few of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Famers in attendance at the RiverCentre to see the Class of 2022 get enshrined.
It was fitting that the 50th anniversary ceremony took place in the "State of Hockey," as the museum is located in Eveleth, Minn., just under 200 miles north of the Twin Cities. The Class of 2022 also features three inductees with ties to Minnesota.
Lamoureux-Davidson was the first inductee to take the podium on Wednesday night. Like her sister, the three-time Olympic medalist developed her skills at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn., before spending her freshman year at the University of Minnesota.
They finished their college careers at the University of North Dakota, where they were coached by Brian Idalski. Lamoureux-Davidson thanked Idalski in her acceptance speech for constantly pushing her and attempting to make her better.
Another driving force in the sisters’ success is their father Jean-Pierre Lamoureux. Lamoureux-Davidson has become famous for her gold-medal winning shootout goal against Canada in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, but she said her dad had a surprising choice of words for her when he got down to the ice to celebrate the gold with his two daughters.
“You could have had two,” he told her, referring to a one-timer Lamoureux-Davidson missed earlier in the game.
Then there’s the influence Lamoureux-Morando had on Lamoureux-Davidson.
“It’s like how without Venus, there’s no Serena,” Lamoureux-Davidson said of her twin sister. “We pushed each other to be the best we could be.”
Longtime U.S. National Sled Hockey Team goalie Cash took the stage next, and for someone nicknamed “Money” by his teammates, it was fitting to see him donning a tie with $100 bills on it and multiple $100 bills in his chest pocket.
It was clear the three-time Paralympic gold medalist was around some of the goalies he looked up to as role models. He mentioned John Vanbiesbrouck (current USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations) as someone that inspired him to play hockey when he was growing up. Vanbiesbrouck was one of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Famers in attendance, and he was one of the four presenters on stage while Cash gave his induction speech.
Cash said that his biggest dream in life was to one day wear the USA jersey and represent his country.
“When I found sled hockey I was able to achieve that dream; I just did it in a different way,” he said. “Hockey has always been a big passion of mine. To be able to achieve those dreams is something that I never thought would be possible.”
Cash became the first sled hockey player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, something he hopes to see a lot more of soon.
“I’ll be honest, I was surprised that I was selected as the first one because there were so many that have come before me that have laid the groundwork for players like myself and others that have come through the pipeline to be successful,” he said. “It’s definitely special to be the first one, but I’m certainly not going to be the last.”
Miller, the winningest American goaltender in NHL history, was the next inductee to grace the stage.
Miller has had success at every level, winning the Hobey Baker Award, the Vezina Trophy and an Olympic MVP. Among all of those accomplishments, getting inducted into the Hall of Fame ranks right there with them.
“This is probably one of the greatest honors I’ve had,” he said.
Miller said he never thought the day would come where he’d have to stop playing. He enjoyed blocking pucks and found the bruises that came with the job “comforting.”
“The other goaltenders here know what I mean,” he joked from the stage. “That doesn’t make us weird, it makes us unique.”
Now that his playing days are over, Miller said he plans to remain in hockey once he finds the right calling. In the meantime, he’s happy to watch the progression of American goaltenders who may one day break the records he’s set.
“I was happy to make a mark and keep pushing things forward, but someone is going to have to come along and make their mark and push everything I’ve done and push it further,” he said. “I’m proud to be an American player and I’d love to see us get back to international competition and establish ourselves at the highest level.”
Lamoureux-Morando was up next, and she made it clear that there was still a bit of a sibling rivalry between herself and Jocelyne.
“I have a 10-minute limit. Jocelyne, you went over,” she laughed.
While Lamoureux-Davidson was able to score the winning goal against Canada in 2018, it was Lamoureux-Morando’s game-tying goal late in the third period that sent the game to overtime. That was one of the examples of how they made each other better throughout their playing careers.
“We had a healthy competitiveness with each other that I think without that, we would have never achieved our athletic potential,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “Every single day we pushed each other.”
The Lamoureux twins ended up playing in three Olympics and seven world championships together, and they won a medal in every one. Lamoureux-Morando mentioned how unique it was to be inducted together for their accomplishments.
“When you play, you’re never thinking, ‘Oh what could happen after my career?’” she said. “To be recognized in this way is certainly an honor and quite special obviously since it’s the both of us.”
The last inductee of the night was the late Johannson, who was represented by his wife Abby. She was quick to mention how special it was for Jim to be enshrined in his native Minnesota.
“Having grown up in Rochester and learning to play hockey there and starting his administrative career for the Twin Cities Vulcans with Stan Hubbard and the Hubbard family I think is something that was huge to him,” she said. “He always considered Minnesota home.”
Johannson accomplished a lot in nearly two decades as an executive for USA Hockey. That included 64 medals at major international tournaments as well as securing USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, to become the home for all U.S. teams.
Abby Johannson said she was most proud of the way Jim carried himself while helping USA Hockey progress.
“For me, it was JJ just being JJ,” she said. “I think he would be most proud of seeing the progression of the game and the growth of the game in the United States.”
David Poile, the longtime hockey exec who was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2018, spoke after Abby to honor Jim Johannson as well. Poile worked with Johannson when Poile was the general manager of the men’s national team for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Poile described Johannson as the “heartbeat of USA Hockey for 20 years.”
Poile previously worked as the general manager of the men’s national team for the world championships in 1998 and 1999. He said back then he would have to beg players to play for the national team. By the time he was back in 2014, a lot had changed under Johannson’s watch, and assembling a team became a lot easier.
“He was the best of the best,” Poile said of Johannson.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.