Lou Lamoriello admits one of his greatest experiences was helping the United States capture the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
"Winning the Stanley Cup and three of them (with the New Jersey Devils) is, without question, the highest honor and it's side by side with the 1996 World Cup with Mike [Modano] and the group we had there and the time we had there," Lamoriello said. "It was all about never letting each other down and we were going to find a way to win."
As the general manager for Team USA, Lamoriello certainly had his work cut out.
"It was a special time and challenge," Lamoriello told reporters just prior to his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. "Personally, we had just come off the 1995 Stanley Cup and then not making the playoffs in '96.
"The group of people we brought together for the World Cup -- coach Ron Wilson played for me at [Providence] College. Paul Holmgren has been a personal friend for a number of years and worked as the assistant. The late John Cundiff had been working for us in our organization. We took that whole staff to Providence, R.I., which was our training ground. We did everything there and just came together as a group and overcame anything."
While Lamoriello said the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" raised the bar for hockey in America, it was the 1996 World Cup win that really got the American player noticed.
"The '80 team really got an opportunity to see what they could do, but the players in there, except for [former New York Islanders defenseman Ken] Morrow never really had the [NHL] success that the 1996 players had," Lamoriello said. "Look at Mike [Modano] and at what he's accomplished. Mike Richter and Brian Leetch; there was a different result of what they did after.
"Now, thinking back on the '80 Olympics and what they did with Herb Brooks and [assistant] Craig Patrick, that was looked at as a miracle," Lamoriello continued. "I don't think when you look back on the '96 World Cup Team that it was considered a miracle and that's the difference."
Follow Mike Morreale at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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