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'Special' team set to join U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

By Cameron Eickmeyer, 07/28/09, 10:15AM MDT


Cammi Granato became the first woman inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 and one year later is a proud representative of the first women’s team to be inducted as the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team joins Tony Amonte, Tom Barrasso, John LeClair and Frank Zamboni as the Class of 2009, announced Tuesday by USA Hockey.

Granato notched eight points for Team USA in leading the country to the gold medal in the first Olympic Winter Games that featured women’s ice hockey. The feat spurred scores of girls into the game and is one of the iconic achievements in women’s hockey in America. The significance of the moment hasn’t faded for Granato and her teammates.

“I played 16 years for USA Hockey and that was the one team that I look back on at the way we were unified,” she said. “There was just something incredibly special.”

Granato, who was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, said joining the Class of 2009 with her teammates will be exciting.

“It’s definitely more special when you can share something with your teammates,” she said.

Granato pointed out that the key to the 1998 team’s success was each player’s willingness to become part of the team and shed individual glory.

“We decided we were going to come together as one and let go of our individuality and it’s hard to do that,” she said. “We rose and beat the best team in the world at the time.”

That camaraderie didn’t end after the gold medal ceremony and continues to this day, something Granato said will make the induction all the better.

“We’re connected pretty well,” she said, noting that e-mail pictures of children are frequently passed around. “We’ve been able to stay together over the years to see how everyone’s sort of grown and to share this experience and have everyone get together again is going to be a great celebration."