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Celebrating hockey in the United States

Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 3:01 PM

By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer / Lester Patrick Awards blog

Four men who have helped thousands of Americans develop their passion and talents in the sport of hockey will be honored tonight at the RiverCentre here in St. Paul, Minn., as the recipients of the Lester Patrick Award for 2011 are honored.

U.S. Olympic hero Mark Johnson, longtime college coach Jeff Sauer, longtime volunteer Tony Rossi, and former player, coach and executive Bob Pulford will be presented with the award, given to people for their contributions to hockey in this country.

Johnson and Sauer have many ties to the University of Wisconsin, while Pulford and Rossi have been staples of hockey in Illinois at different levels. Check back here throughout the night for observations and stories and anything that comes an evening of celebrating hockey in the United States and particularly in the Midwest.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery