The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, Tony Amonte, Tom Barrasso, John LeClair and Frank Zamboni will be enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2009, it was announced today by USA Hockey.
"This is a truly magnificent class," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "Each member of the Class of 2009 has had an extraordinary impact on our sport and is most deserving to take their place among the hockey immortals in the United States."
The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team had a powerful impact on the growth of girls' and women's hockey in the United States thanks to the success it enjoyed at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. The team twice defeated arch-rival Canada, including by a 3-1 count in the gold-medal game, en route to winning the first gold medal presented in women's ice hockey at an Olympic Winter Games. Behind the guidance of Head Coach Ben Smith, Team USA finished the tournament undefeated (6-0-0) and outscored its opponents, 36-8. Cammi Granato, a 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, Karyn Bye, Katie King and Gretchen Ulion, co-led the U.S. with eight points each, while netminders Sarah Tueting and Sara DeCosta split time in goal, each winning three games.
Tony Amonte played a major role in one of the most memorable moments in U.S. hockey history when he scored the game-winning goal against Canada at 17:25 of the third period in the deciding game of the the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996. In 1,174 games over 15 years in the National Hockey League, Amonte registered 416 goals and 484 assists for 900 points, while playing for five teams (New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames). After being selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (68th overall) in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, the Hingham, Mass., native recorded 69 points (35-34) during his rookie season in 1991-92, placing third in the Calder Trophy balloting, an award that goes to the NHL's top rookie. A five-time NHL all-star (1997-2001), Amonte currently ranks 11th on the all-time points list among American-born players. He broke the 30-goal mark in eight of his 15 seasons and led the Blackhawks twice in scoring (1996-97, 1999-2000). In addition to his stellar NHL career, Amonte starred on the international stage. A member of two Olympic teams (1998, 2002), he recorded four points in helping lead Team USA to the silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Also a two-time member of Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey (1996, 2004), the U.S. Men's National Team (1991, 1993) and the U.S. National Junior Team (1989, 1990), Amonte scored 13 goals and added 20 assists while wearing a Team USA sweater. He also helped Team USA capture the silver medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games.
Tom Barrasso, who won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991, 1992), is one of the finest American-born goaltenders to play the game. Among U.S.-born netminders, Barrasso ranks first in National Hockey League playoff victories (61) and second in regular-season victories (369). In addition, he holds the NHL record among goaltenders for career points (48) and assists (48). During his 19-year NHL career, Barrasso played in 777 career games with six teams (Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues). The fifth overall pick of the Sabres in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Barrasso became the only goaltender to play in the NHL directly from high school. Following his rookie season in 1983-84, Barrasso captured the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie after posting a 26-12-3 record and was also named the recipient of the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. In addition, he earned a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team and the NHL All-Star Team. He led the NHL in wins (43) during the 1992-93 season and ranked among the top 10 in the league in victories on nine separate occasions. The Boston native was a member Team USA at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and helped the squad capture the silver medal. Barrasso also played for Team USA at the 1983 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cups, and the 1986 IIHF Men's World Championship.
The first American-born player to record three consecutive 50-goal seasons in the National Hockey League (1995-98), John LeClair played 16 years in the NHL and helped the Montreal Canadiens capture the Stanley Cup in 1993. LeClair, who also had stops with the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in his distinguished career, registered 406 goals and 413 assists for 819 points in 967 career games. He currently ranks 13th on the NHL's all-time points list among American-born players. LeClair had arguably his best years as a member of the "Legion of Doom" line on the Flyers. In 10 seasons (1994-2004), the St. Albans, Vt., native tallied 333 goals and 643 points as a Flyer, good for seventh on the club's all-time goals and points lists. LeClair broke the 40-goal mark in five consecutive seasons (1995-2000) and finished in the top 10 in league scoring four times (1994-95, 1996-99). A two-time Olympian (1998, 2002), LeClair ranked second on the team and third overall in points at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, helping lead Team USA to the silver medal. He was also a member of Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and the U.S. National Junior Team at the 1988 and 1989 IIHF World Junior Championships. LeClair netted 34 career points (22-12) in 31 games in a Team USA uniform.
Although he never laced up the skates himself, Frank Zamboni's legacy lives at nearly every hockey rink in the country. Born in Eureka, Utah, in 1901, Zamboni and his brother, Lawrence, moved to Southern California in 1920. After opening an ice plant for manufacturing block ice, Zamboni envisioned a new way to keep his business open after the growth of the home refrigerator. Along with his brother and cousin, Pete, the trio built a skating rink in 1940 and nine years later, Zamboni received the patent for the world's first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni brought his machines to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif., and at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, all ice resurfacing machines were Zambonis. In 2002, Zamboni was named the "Official Ice Resurfacer of the NHL," and in 2007, the 8,500th Zamboni was produced. A member of the United States Figure Skating Association Hall of Fame (2000), the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame (2006) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2007), Zamboni passed away in 1988.
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of accomplishments in the game of hockey, sportsmanship, character, contributions to their team(s) or organization(s) and contributions to the game of hockey in general. A nominee must have distinguished him/herself by exceptional performance and outstanding character reflecting favorably upon the game of hockey.
NOTES: The date and location of the official induction ceremonies associated with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2009 will be released in August ... The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1973. To date, there are 138 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit the Hall's official web site at USHockeyHallofFame.com