DENVER – The Class of 2008 - Cammi Granato, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter - was formally enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame here tonight at an induction ceremony and dinner, held at the University of Denver's Magness Arena. More than 400 people were on hand for the night of celebration.
"This was a wonderful celebration and a great way to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of these four individuals," said Walter Bush, chairman of the board for USA Hockey. "The University of Denver deserves many thanks for helping USA Hockey put on such a great event."
“It's very special to be the first woman inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Granato. “It shows how far women's hockey has come. It opens the door for future players.”
“To be a member of this class and be a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, I don't know if there are words,” said Hull. “I am touched to be a member of the family ... I am forever grateful to USA Hockey.”
“I played the game of hockey because it was fun,” said Leetch. "Not a day goes by when I am at home with my kids that I don't realize how lucky I was. I am honored to be here."
“This honor is special no matter how you slice it,” said Richter. “So much of what I know and what I have in life comes from hockey ... The memories are countless, sometimes trivial, but all meaningful.”
The late Anatoly Tarasov was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Wayne Gretzky International Award. The award, established by the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and first presented to its namesake, pays tribute to international individuals who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States.
"My family is waiting for me to bring this award home to Moscow," said Alexey Tarasov, grandson of Anatoly Tarasov. "We are thankful for the recognition of my grandfather."
NOTES: The addition of the Class of 2008 brings the total number of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinees to 138 ... The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame weekend will conclude tomorrow (October 11) with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Face-Off Classic, pitting the University of Denver against the University of Notre Dame at 7:07 p.m. MT. Both teams were in attendance at the induction event ... John Buccigross, sports anchor for ESPN and long-time promoter of hockey in America, served as the master of ceremonies for the induction dinner ... Lou Vairo, head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and one of the most prominent hockey figures in the United States, was the featured speaker at the induction ceremony ... USA Hockey assumed responsibility for the selection process and induction event associated with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in the spring of 2007.