A few weeks ago, NBC Sports commentator Jeremy Roenick was an emotional wreck on live television when his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, snapped their 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
He was the same way at the news conference announcing his retirement last summer -- so one can only imagine his state of mind three months from now when he stands before family and friends to discuss his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Roenick headlines a fantastic Hall of Fame class for 2010 -- a group that oozes charisma, strength and leadership.
The honorees, announced Thursday, include Roenick; Derian and Kevin Hatcher; Art Berglund; and Dr. George Nagobads. The 38th U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony will be held Oct. 21, at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.
"I grew up a small kid, but I really loved the game of hockey," Roenick said during a conference call announcing the Class of 2010. "In 1980, watching Mike Eruzione score probably the most important goal in U.S. history, I wanted to be an Olympian and a professional hockey player and be Mike Eruzione. I wanted to achieve greatness like that. That's what U.S. hockey has done for a lot of kids."
Upon announcing his retirement, Roenick, who represented the U.S. at two World Junior Championships and two Olympics and played in nine NHL All-Star games, quickly became one of the League's most outspoken television analysts. The Boston native is the second former Blackhawk to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in as many years -- Tony Amonte was honored in 2009.
Roenick retired from the NHL with 513 goals and 703 assists for 1,216 points in 1,363 regular-season games with Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Jose. Among U.S.-born players, only Mike Modano (557) and Keith Tkachuk (538) have scored more goals.
With the Blackhawks from 1988-96, Roenick scored 267 goals, seventh all-time in the Original Six franchise's history. He twice scored more than 50 goals and made appeared in the Stanley Cup Final with the Hawks in 1992. Roenick had 53 goals and 69 assists in 154 Stanley Cup Playoff games; his 6 goals in Game 7s are tied for second all-time.
When reminded of the thunderous check delivered by fellow inductee Derian Hatcher that broke his jaw in 1999, Roenick laughed.
"Never did Derian go out and try to break my jaw," he said. "He plays hard hockey and he's big and strong and when we played that day in Dallas, I knew people were targeting me and knew I would feel pain.
"But by no means, when you're playing in a hockey game, are you playing guys you like or dislike. No one tries to go out and hurt someone on purpose. It's all part of the game and never have I held any ill feelings -- Derian will attest to that. Never once have we talked or argued about it."
Roenick contributed to the 2004 Philadelphia Flyers' team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals and is one of 24 players -- 16 of whom are in the Hockey Hall of Fame -- with at least 500 goals and 700 assists.
The Hatchers are the first brother combination enshrined at the same time since Mark and Scott Fusco in 2002.
"People would always ask, do you think you'll have an opportunity to play on the same team (as your brother) and I would most often say, 'More than likely, not,'" Kevin Hatcher said. "There are 30 teams in the NHL, so there's not going to be good chance that we'll end up in the same city, but I was wrong since we did play together a couple of years in Dallas."
The brothers played together for two seasons with the Stars, beginning in 1994-95.
"It's a real honor to have my brother inducted alongside me," Kevin Hatcher said. "When he told me he was getting inducted at same time, I thought it was unbelievable because it'll be some weekend in Buffalo. To be able to play in all the international games with him, starting back with the World Cup and the Olympics … it meant a lot. I was there for him and he was there for me in different ways and now we'll be there for each other on Oct. 21."
Kevin Hatcher was drafted in the first round (No. 17) by the Capitals in 1984. A five-time NHL All-Star, the defenseman had 227 goals, 677 points and 1,392 penalty minutes in 1,157 NHL games over 16 full seasons with the Capitals, Stars, Penguins, Rangers and Hurricanes. Hatcher's best offensive season was 1992-93 with Washington, when he registered career-highs of 34 goals and 79 points in 83 games. Internationally, he represented the United States in two Canada Cups, the 1996 World Cup and the '98 Olympics. He retired at the end of the 2000-01 campaign.
Derian spent 16 seasons in the NHL, including 12 with the Stars (Minnesota and Dallas), one with Detroit and three with Philadelphia. The defenseman, who appeared in 1,045 games and amassed 331 career points, was drafted in the first round (No. 8) by the Minnesota North Stars in 1990 and scored in his NHL debut, Oct. 12, 1991. He became the first U.S.-born captain of a Stanley Cup champion in 1999, when Dallas eliminated the Buffalo Sabres in six games. He also represented the U.S. at the 1998 and 2006 Olympics, and the 1996 and 2004 World Cup. He retired from the game in June 2009.
Berglund's career in international ice hockey spans portions of five decades, during which he managed or served on the administrative staff of more than 30 U.S. teams in a variety of tournaments worldwide.
He served as USA Hockey's director of national teams and international activities for 11 years before being named senior director of international administration in 1996.
"I was there in 1973 when Hobey Baker was inducted in Minnesota and it was a great day," Berglund said. "To be included with so many friends and colleagues … I'm speechless. It's been exciting to watch the growth of hockey and now we don't have to expect miracles any more because we develop players like the Hatchers and Jeremy Roenicks. Not only are they some of the best at their position, but they're some of the best in the game. It's taken a lot of hard work, but USA Hockey has done a great job and we're right up there now."
Berglund worked in the NHL for a time in the 1970s and '80s, serving as a U.S scout for the St. Louis Blues and director of player recruitment for the Colorado Rockies.
He received the NHL's Lester Patrick Award in 1992 for outstanding contributions to the sport of ice hockey in the U.S., and also received the American Hockey Coaches Association's Jim Fullerton Award in 2000 -- an honor recognizing an individual demonstrating a love for the purity of the sport.
Nagobads is renowned for his role as team physician for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. In all, he was the team doctor for 30 USA hockey squads from 1967-90.
"When I was playing hockey as a high school student and doing my first two years as a medical student in Latvia, I could not even dream that this could ever happen to me," Nagobads said. "This moment is so great for me."
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