The Wrap From a Memorable Night in Buffalo
10.21.2010 / 11:01 PM ET
A night of wining, dining, speeches and video montages is in the books and the upshot is that five men can now claim to be new members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The early portion of the evening was set aside to honor a number of contributors to USA Hockey, with special significance given to the 1972 Olympic team, which took the silver medal in Sapporo, Japan, but after those early moments, and dinner, each of the five guests of honor received their due and were given a chance to speak.
While Art Berglund and Dr. V. George Nagobads are easily the two less recognizable of the names being inducted, each received an incredibly strong ovation from the crowd. Berglund, whose contributions to the growth of hockey in the U.S. are dramatically far-reaching, wowed the crowd by repeating the traditional introduction from radio broadcasts of the Toronto Maple Leafs he had grown up listening to. Nagobads, who was treated not just to a standing ovation, but to loud cheers and twirling napkins from the audience, delivered his own entertaining hockey memories to the delight of the crowd.
Not to be outdone by Berglund, Nagobads or the gracious Hatcher brothers, however, Jeremy Roenick managed to hit on points both introspective, poignant and humorous. Among the many people Roenick thanked was his agent, noting, "I definitely got more money than I deserved in my career."
But perhaps the most anticipated moment of the evening came when Roenick acknowledged each of the inductees who came before him, and made a point once again not to bury any hatchet with fellow inductee Derian Hatcher because none had ever existed. Hatcher's hit on Roenick in 1999, which resulted in Roenick breaking his jaw in four places was a regular topic of discussion in Buffalo leading up to the induction, but in his speech Roenick stated emphatically, as he has several times, that the incident was merely a product of how intensely the two of them played the game.
"Never, ever," Roenick said Thursday night, "did I feel any animosity for our competitive level and what we did on the ice."
The respect the two had on stage was obvious, and lookers on can easily assume that both are hoping the issue is finally put to rest.
Roenick's speech, replete with all the necessary jokes and war stories, was an appropriate end to the evening. Of course, with the 2010 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions now done, the attention will turn towards the 39th induction next year. That class may have a tricky act to follow, though. Master of Ceremonies Steve Levy completed the evening by wishing the class of 2011 luck, but he noted it wasn't entirely out of praise, but because for whomever is inducted next year, the class of 2010 will be a tough act to follow.
-- David Kalan
Showtime at HSBC Arena
10.21.2010 / 6:57 PM ET
After a spirited and convivial session with the media and all the requisite photo ops, it's finally time for the ceremony to begin.
The honorees will be inducted at the 38th U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction ceremony with a number of presentations, speeches and dinner. It might be worth noting that the Master of Ceremonies tonight will be longtime ESPN hockey commentator Steve Levy. This is the first time the event has ever been held in the arena of an NHL team and Levy has spent more than his fair share of time in those.
He is noted for having been behind the mic for a number of marathon playoff games over the years, most notably Game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which didn't end until Keith Primeau scored in the fifth overtime after 92:01 of extra time.
This writer remembers being unable to stay awake for the end of it because he had to be at his first period class in high school the next day.
This evening's festivities are unlikely to run quite that late, but with Levy handling the call you never know. We might want to strap in for a late night.
-- David Kalan
Nagobads Regales the Crowd
10.21.2010 / 5:21 PM ET
Each of the five inductees had time to gab with the media this afternoon with all of them discussing a wide range of topics from the state of the game today, the honor of becoming a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the influence of the "Miracle on Ice" in 1980
The man who managed to get the most words in was former U.S. national team doctor V. George Nagobads. Given his first-hand experience with one of the greatest upsets in sports history, Nagobads was a popular and willing participant.
In fact he was so willing that his interview ended up delaying the proceedings. As the other inductees awaited a photo opportunity, Jeremy Roenick jokingly yelled across the room, "Hey, stop holding court, doc. Let's go."
No one, and certainly least of all Roenick, would want to deny Nagobads his moment in the sun, but as Roenick pointed out to the venerated inductee, "It we didn't stop you, we'd be here til Saturday."
-- David Kalan
The Honorees Begin to Arrive
10.21.2010 / 3:41 PM ET
Ceremonies are a little more than three hours away here at HSBC Arena, but with a media session set to start at 4 p.m. ET, Jeremy Roenick, Derian Hatcher, Kevin Hatcher, Dr. V. George Nagobads and Art Berglund should be arriving any minute.
The evening is sure to be a memorable one for all the inductees, in particular the Hatcher brothers will be entering the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame together, but the man many are keeping their eye on is Roenick. The third-highest goal scorer in NHL history has a reputation for, his words, "wearing his heart on his sleeve."
This became particularly noticeable earlier this year when Roenick was obviously emotional during the NBC broadcast of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. A longtime Blackhawk, Roenick was clearly touched when Chicago finally won a title.
Tonight is certainly a big one for Roenick, who makes no bones about just how honored he is to be inducted, but those expecting another outpouring of emotion from him might be disappointed.
As Roenick told me earlier this week, "I'll be fine."
-- David Kalan
Craig Making an Appearance with Bettman
10.21.2010 / 12:26 PM ET
The U.S. hockey team's performance at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., has become one of the most fondly recalled memories of the U.S. sports landscape, inspiring the 2004 film Miracle, and bringing continued recognition to the players and staff, who were invited to Salt Lake City to light the Olympic cauldron at the 2002 Games.
Members of that team dot the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame's various classes, Neal Broten, Mark Johnson and late coach Herb Brooks among them, and today another member, Dr. V. George Nagobads, the physician for the 1980 team and several other U.S. squads will join them.
One member, who hasn't yet made his way in, however, is goaltender Jim Craig. Craig only had a relatively brief professional career following the 1980 Olympics, but his 36-save performance against the Soviet Union played no small role in the dream medal run. While he is not yet enshrined in the Hall, Craig will still be present at the festivities tonight, and one of the people who will get a crack at him is none other than NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Bettman will be broadcasting his NHL Hour radio show live from the scene of tonight's ceremony, HSBC Arena, and Craig will be sitting in with the Commissioner for some puck talk. The show will run from 6-7 p.m. ET tonight. Joining Bettman and Craig will be another heavy hitter of the U.S. hockey scene, Dave Ogrean, the executive Director of USA Hockey.
I expect much of the discussion will revolve around the 1980 Olympic team and the competitive advances USA Hockey has made over the last three decades, but either way, both Craig and Ogrean seem likely to add some keen insight in their visit with the NHL's No. 1.
-- David Kalan
Welcome to Buffalo
10.21.2010 / 10:35 AM ET
I just arrived at my hotel in downtown Buffalo this morning and found a number of signs for tonight's U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions in the lobby. I suspect many other members of the media and hockey dignitaries are currently arriving all over town. Some of those expected to come in soon include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, USA Hockey President Ron DeGregorio, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.
And of course, the inductees themselves, Jeremy Roenick, Derian Hatcher, Kevin Hatcher, Dr. V. George Nagobads and Art Berglund, will be arriving soon if they haven't gotten to Buffalo already.
The festivities begin at 7 p.m. tonight, but there will be some time with the inductees before then, so I will try to set the scene and get you the information as it comes.
Until then, I will see what the City of Good Neighbors has to offer and get myself some lunch. Apparently they have good wings here.
-- David Kalan