Ron DeGregorio (Salem, N.H.), Chris Drury (Trumbull, Conn.), Angela Ruggiero (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Mathieu Schneider (New York, N.Y.) have been selected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2015, it was announced today by USA Hockey.
The formal induction of the Class of 2015 is set for Thursday, Dec. 17, in Boston at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
“This class is extraordinary and has had an extremely positive and wide-ranging impact on our sport,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “The members of this Class represent the very best of our sport and we look forward to welcoming them as the 43rd class of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame officially in December.”
ABOUT RON DeGREGORIO
Ron DeGregorio has helped shape American hockey for more than 40 years as one the most prominent volunteers in the history of USA Hockey and has conceived programs that have resulted in acclaim from around the world.
While DeGregorio’s ingenuity is evident in many areas, perhaps his most significant concept was starting USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in 1996. A lightning rod for criticism when it was established, the NTDP has evolved into a revered program that has significantly enhanced elite player development and U.S. success in international competition.
DeGregorio currently serves as co-chair of the USA Hockey Board of Directors following his retirement as president of USA Hockey in June 2015 after a 12-year span. His influence was instrumental in the establishment of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, which was launched in 2009 and has been widely acclaimed, including today being used as the basis for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s athlete development program. Among other signature programs, DeGregorio also championed the implementation of USA Hockey SafeSport as well as USA Hockey’s Progressive Checking Skill Development Program. His leadership is also evident in the insurance and risk management arenas and in use of technology, including the push to online player registration and online education modules in coaching and officiating education.
His first appointment with USA Hockey came in 1973 when he was named registrar for the New England District where he oversaw the reorganization of the district into several smaller, more manageable affiliates and appointed associate registrars to help increase USA Hockey’s efficiency and visibility at the local level. DeGregorio was first elected to the USA Hockey Board of Directors in 1975 and was the organization’s first vice president of youth hockey. In the 1980s, he served as treasurer of USA Hockey. In 1995, he was elected as a vice president and the international council chairperson, positions he held until being named president.
A former Middlebury (Vt.) College goaltender, DeGregorio is known throughout Massachusetts as the originator of the “Mini One-on-One,” a youth hockey competition that is broadcast through the Boston Bruins’ television network.
DeGregorio, who is a former co-owner of the AHL’s Kentucky Thoroughblades, was distinguished with the National Hockey League’s Lester Patrick Trophy in 2002 in recognition of his outstanding service to ice hockey in the United States.
ABOUT CHRIS DRURY
Chris Drury won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, is a three-time medalist in international competition, is the only player ever to capture the Calder Memorial Trophy and Hobey Baker Memorial Award and helped Boston University earn the NCAA title in 1995.
A third-round pick (72nd overall) of the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Drury registered 615 points in 892 games over 12 seasons in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. During his career, Drury notched 255 career goals, including 47 game-winning tallies.
He started his professional career with Colorado in 1998-99 and earned the Calder Memorial Trophy that season as the league’s top rookie. The forward spent three more campaigns with the Avalanche and helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 2001 by contributing 11 postseason goals, the second most in that year’s playoffs.
He was dealt to Calgary for the 2002-03 season where he put up 53 points in 80 games before moving on to Buffalo the following season. In 2006-07, his third of three seasons with the Sabres, he set professional career highs for goals (37), points (69) and power-play goals (17). Drury signed as a free agent with the Rangers in 2007-08 and spent the final four seasons of his career in New York, serving as team captain of the Blueshirts from 2008-11.
During his four-year collegiate career at Boston University (1994-98), Drury amassed 214 points in 155 games and is still today the school’s all-time leading goal scorer with 113. He helped the Terriers to the 1995 NCAA National Championship his freshman year and was a two-time Hockey East Player of the Year (1997, 1998). Drury captured college hockey’s ultimate individual honor his senior season as the recipient of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and is also a two-time recipient of USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year award (1997, 1998).
He represented Team USA at eight major international events, including three Olympic Winter Games (2002, 2006, 2010), three IIHF Men’s World Championships (1997, 1998, 2004), one World Cup of Hockey (2004) and one IIHF World Junior Championship (1996). Drury collected two Olympic silver medals (2002, 2010) and one IIHF Men’s World Championships bronze medal (2004).
ABOUT ANGELA RUGGIERO
A four-time Olympic medalist, Angela Ruggiero was a dominating force on the blueline throughout her 15-plus-year career with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
She has played more games (256) in a Team USA uniform than any other ice hockey player in the country’s history.
Ruggiero helped the U.S. claim the first-ever gold medal awarded in women’s ice hockey in the Olympic Winter Games in 1998 as the youngest member of the team and went on to win three other Olympic medals (silver-2002, 2010; bronze-2006). She was named the top defenseman in the Olympic Winter Games in both 2002 and 2006.
Ruggiero competed at 10 IIHF Women’s World Championships and was honored as the tournament’s top defenseman four times (2001, 2004, 2005, 2008). In 2005, she scored the tournament-winning shootout goal to lead the U.S. to its first-ever gold medal at a Women’s World Championship. She was also part of gold medal-winning teams at the world championship in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and helped the U.S. capture silver medals in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2007. Ruggiero also competed at eight Three/Four Nations Cups, the 1996 Pacific Women’s Championship and was a three-time member of U.S. select teams.
She accumulated 208 points (67-141) during her time in a Team USA sweater. In 2003 and 2004, she was named USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year.
Ruggiero made history in 2005 when she and her brother, Bill, competed for the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers and became the first brother-sister pair to play together in a professional hockey game in North America. That game also represented Ruggiero becoming the first non-goalie to play in any men’s professional hockey game in North America.
Ruggiero played college hockey for four seasons at Harvard University. There, she contributed 243 points (91-152) in 127 games, was a four-time NCAA All-American, an Academic All-American, helped Harvard win the 1999 national championship and was awarded the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Trophy in 2004 as the top women’s ice hockey player in the NCAA.
She played professionally for the Montreal Axion of the National Women’s Hockey League in 2004-05, and joined the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Western Women's Hockey League in 2007-08. The Whitecaps won the league championship in 2008-09. She was also a member of the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in 2010-11.
Ruggiero, who was recently named to the Hockey Hall of Fame, retired from the U.S. Women’s National Team in December of 2011.
ABOUT MATHIEU SCHNEIDER
Mathieu Schneider won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993, helped the U.S. earn the inaugural World Cup of Hockey title in 1996, and is among the top five American defensemen all-time in the NHL in nearly every statistical category.
Schneider was drafted 44th overall by the Canadiens in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, and began his 21-year professional career with Montreal in 1987-88. Over the course of his NHL career, he played with Montreal for parts of eight seasons and had stints with nine additional franchises including the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes.
A year after helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1993, Schneider led all Montreal defensemen with 52 points, including 20 goals. He was traded during the following season to the Islanders where he spent nearly two seasons before being moved to Toronto in the midst of the 1995-96 campaign.
Following time with the Rangers and Kings, Schneider joined the Red Wings during the 2002-03 season. In the course of his four campaigns with the Red Wings, he surpassed 1,000 games played and 100 postseason appearances. He also recorded single-season career-highs in points (59) and goals (21) during the 2005-06 season and tied his single-season mark for assists (41) in 2006-07. After leaving Detroit, Schneider spent the following three seasons in Anaheim, Atlanta, Montreal and Vancouver before finishing his NHL career with Phoenix in 2009-10.
A two-time NHL All-Star Game participant (1996, 2003), Schneider completed his career with 743 points (223-520) in 1,289 NHL games. He is among the top five American defensemen of all-time in nearly every statistical category, including games played (3rd, 1289), points (5th, 43), goals (4th, 223), power play goals (3rd, 100), and game-winning goals (4th, 36). He is also sixth in assists (520).
Schneider put on the Team USA sweater at four international events, highlighted by helping the U.S. earn the inaugural World Cup of Hockey title in 1996. He also participated in two Olympic Winter Games (1998, 2006) as well as the IIHF World Junior Championship (1988).
The Class of 2015 will be formally enshrined at the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. More details, including ticket and venue information, will be released in the upcoming weeks.
The 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration will also include the presentation of the Lester Patrick Trophy.
The Referee Section of USA Hockey recently met during Annual Congress and discussed a variety of issues that will have an impact in the success of the officiating program. Many of those issues relate back to the successful completion of the registration requirements and the retention of officials.
Streamlining the registration process and maximizing the efficiency of our educational platforms are always a priority and the following Q-and-A will highlight those changes that every official should be aware of heading into the new season.
USA Hockey: What is the biggest change made to the registration requirements for this season?
Matt Leaf: With more and more seminars transitioning to a virtual format, the Referees-in-Chief (RIC) have determined that there really is no need for the closed book exams. So, level 2, 3 and 4 officials this season will no longer be required to submit a closed book (or modified online closed book exam) upon completion of the seminar requirement. Instead, the open book exams have been expanded to 75 questions for level 2 and 100 questions each for level 3 and level 4.
The RICs acknowledged that the purpose of the exams has always been as a means to encourage rule knowledge, so more effort was made to put together open book exam questions that will encourage the officials to open the Rules/Casebook in an effort to not only learn the rule, but more importantly, understand the spirit and intent of the rule.
USAH: Are there any other changes to the exam process
ML: The only other change to the exams deal with those who do not pass the original exam. Level 2, 3 and 4 officials will now be able to complete their retake exam 24 hours after failing their original exam. Level 1 officials will still need to wait seven days as we want them to slow down and take some time reviewing the rules so they can gain a better understanding and improve their chances for success on the ice.
USAH: What changes, if any, have been made to the seminars? Are all officials still required to attend a seminar each season?
ML: Yes, except for Tenured Officials, all officials are required to attend a seminar for the level that they apply for each season. So, a Level 1 official must attend a Level 1 seminar, Level 2 attends a Level 2 and then Level 3 and 4 seminars will be combined as one seminar in many cases.
Level 1 officials are strongly encouraged to attend a seminar in their own area and most areas will mainly conduct in-person Level 1 seminars. Although there will be some hybrid Level 1 seminars with both a virtual and in-person component, the key here is that every Level 1 official is required to attend a Level 1 seminar ice session. This may require some additional coordination of scheduling for these new officials, but the reality is this on-ice practice is so critical to any future success they may have on the ice that the RICs feel it is critical that the ice session is part of their educational experience.
Level 2 seminars will also include an on-ice component that Level 2 officials need to be aware of when they plan their seminar attendance. The vast majority of Level 3 and Level 4 seminars will be virtual and officials are encouraged to attend a seminar at a date and time that is convenient for them.
USAH: Have there been any changes to the curriculum for the various levels?
ML: The curriculum for each level was standardized prior to last season and is something that will continue to be updated on an annual basis. The specific presentations, along with the video examples, have all been developed in a manner that provides valuable information specific to each level with new presentations and updated video examples being used to keep things fresh and relevant. In addition, the seminar curriculum has been coordinated with the online modules to minimize duplication and to diversify the required education for each level.
USAH: How about SafeSport and Screening – any changes to those requirements?
ML: The background screening process will remain the same as USA Hockey is required to conduct a national screen every two years on any official who is 18 years of age as of June 1 of the registration year (in this case 2022). Both the background screen and the SafeSport training are mandated by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) per the Amateur Sports Act initiated by Congress.
For SafeSport, any official who was born in 2005, or earlier, is required to complete SafeSport training on a yearly basis. This may include the full training or refresher training that is managed by the US Center for SafeSport. Although it will not have an impact on registration for this season, there was a change in SafeSport that has been made where the training will only be valid for a 12-month period of time and it not consistent with an overlapping season. This will be addressed during the summer of 2023.
USAH: Are there any other changes or areas of emphasis that you want officials to be aware of?
ML: A significant part of the discussions that took place with the RICs focused on the importance mentoring plays in the success and, ultimately, the retention of brand-new officials. USA Hockey loses 50% of our new officials every season and improving that retention rate by just 15% will result in 1,000 additional experienced officials joining our ranks each year. We need to do a better job of bringing new officials into the fold and then supporting them in ways that sets them up for a successful and rewarding experience. The RICs feel strongly the best way to positively impact this issue is through mentoring.
Experienced officials should expect to receive information later this summer that outlines expectations of a formal Mentor Program and asking them to volunteer their time and expertise to become involved as a mentor. Once we have established a pool of officials that are willing to contribute in this way to the next generation of officials, they will be assigned a group of new officials they can reach out to and guide them through the registration process, seminar attendance, assistance in completing the open book exam and reaching out to prospective assignors when the time has come they are ready to work games. Once they have stepped on the ice, that mentor can continue to be a valuable resource for the new official and provide the necessary support needed to be successful. We will also be encouraging local clubs, assignors and officials’ groups to implement Shadow Programs that will complement the Mentor Program and positively enhance the officials’ experience even more.
With everyone working together towards a common goal, USA Hockey can become a leader in addressing the officiating crisis while providing a positive experience to our next generation of officials.