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Avs to Honor U.S. HHOF Inductees

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it will host the 2008 United States Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, Cammi Granato, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter as part of its opening night festivities on October 9 when it begins the 2008-09 campaign versus the Boston Bruins at Pepsi Center.

Granato, Hull, Leetch and Richter were named to the 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class back on August 12 and will be formally inducted on October 10 at a dinner to be held at Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus. The Avalanche will honor the quartet in a special pre-game tribute prior to the face-off.

“It’s an honor for us to be able to pay tribute to these four legendary hockey players and we felt that Opening Night was the perfect time to do this,” said Kurt Schwartzkopf, Chief Marketing Officer of the Colorado Avalanche.

Catherine “Cammi” Granato, sister of Avalanche head coach Tony Granato, becomes the first female inducted into the hall after a 15-year career with the U.S. Women’s National Team. A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Granato captained the 1998 U.S. Women’s Olympic squad to a gold medal, the first year women’s hockey was an Olympic event. She would go on to earn a silver medal as captain of Team USA at the 2002 Olympics before leading the women’s team to its first-ever gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship in 2005. Granato is Team USA’s all-time scoring leader with 343 points (186g/157a) in 205 games. In 2007, she received the NHL’s Lester Patrick Award in recognition of outstanding service to hockey in the United States, and, in 2008, she was enshrined into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

The NHL’s third all-time leading goal scorer with 741 career goals, Brett Hull, wore the Stars and Stripes for Team USA in Olympic competition twice, including 2002 where he helped lead the United States to a silver medal. He led all scorers as Team USA captured the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, the first of two World Cup appearances. He also participated in the 1991 Canada Cup and 1986 IIHF Men’s World Championship.

The nine-time NHL All-Star played more than 20 years in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. During the 1998-99 season with the St. Louis Blues he scored 41 goals and was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The following year he would register his first of three consecutive 70-plus goal seasons, including a career-high 86 goals in 1990-91 to earn him the Lester B. Pearson Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP. His 52 goals as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota Duluth still stands as a collegiate single-season record today.

As a member of Team USA, Brian Leetch is one of just ten American men’s ice hockey players to have competed in the Olympic Winter Games three or more times, appearing in 1988, 1998 and 2002. He also represented the United States at three IIHF World Junior Championships (1985-87), two IIHF Men’s World Championships (1987, 1989), one Canada Cup (1991) and twice in the World Cup of Hockey (1996, 2004).

Leetch played 18 seasons in the NHL and was honored as an All-Star 11 times. He earned Norris Trophies twice as the league’s best defenseman, captured a Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoff MVP and was the Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie. Leetch is one of only five blueliners in NHL history to record more than 100 points in a season and one of seven to accumulate more than 1,000 points in his career (247g/781a—1028).

Mike Richter was a key piece of Team USA for three decades. He is one of just 10 Americans ever to compete in at least three Olympic Games, including in 2002, when the team captured the silver medal. In addition, he led Team USA to the World Cup of Hockey championship in 1996 and was named the tournament’s MVP. He also played in two IIHF World Junior Championships (1985-86), three IIHF Men’s World Championships (1986-87, 1993) and the 1991 Canada Cup.

During his 14-year career as a member of the New York Rangers, Richter became the club’s all-time leader in wins (301) and was instrumental in helping the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in over 50 years. In just his second full NHL campaign (1991-92), he was a Vezina Trophy finalist and two years later during the 1993-94 season, he would go on to set a Rangers’ single-season record with 42 wins in leading the team to the Presidents’ Trophy and its first Stanley Cup title since 1942.

Hull, Leetch and Richter are all among the 12 players voted to the All-Time USA Hockey Team in 1997.
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