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Modano, Olczyk, Lamoriello named to U.S. HHOF

by Mike G. Morreale / Chicago Blackhawks
Eddie Olczyk was one of three people named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Wednesday (Photo by Getty Images).

Two of the most prolific U.S.-born point producers in NHL history and a respected builder of three Stanley Cup championship teams headline this year's inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

The honorees, announced Wednesday by USA Hockey, include forwards Mike Modano and Ed Olczyk and New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. The 40th U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony will be held at a location and date to be announced in the near future.

Modano, the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history, spent 20 of his 21 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise before announcing his retirement Sept. 23, 2011, after spending his final season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The first pick in the 1988 NHL Draft, Modano, a native of Livonia, Mich., closed his career as the Stars' all-time leader in games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802) and points (1,359). He also holds franchise records with 145 playoff points in a club-high 174 games. He remains the all-time leader among U.S.-born players in goals (561) and points (1,374).

Internationally, Modano played for the U.S. at three Winter Olympics, two World Cups of Hockey, a Canada Cup and the World Championship. He won a gold medal at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics.

In 1993-94, his first season in Texas, Modano set single-season franchise records with 50 goals and 93 points and the team advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals. Three years later, the Stars won the first of five straight division titles; in 1999, Modano had 23 points in 23 games as the Stars won the franchise's first and only Stanley Cup.

"The pinnacle was '99," Modano told reporters the day of his retirement. "It was one of those years. It was Stanley Cup or nothing. We had a team built [for a deep playoff run]. Those two runs made a buzz here in Dallas."

Olczyk was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the third pick of the 1984 draft and embarked on a 16-year NHL career as an 18-year old rookie with the Blackhawks in 1984-85.

In his first three seasons in Chicago, Olczyk recorded 180 points in 225 games. He scored 342 goals and 794 points in 1,031 games with the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Chicago native played his final two years with the Blackhawks before calling it a career in 2000. He made a smooth transition into broadcasting, where he currently works as the top analyst for NBC.

In the mid-1980s, Olczyk was a regular for Team USA at the World Championship, participating in the 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989 tournaments. He also donned the USA jersey at the 1987 Canada Cup. Olczyk joined the U.S. National Team in 1983 and scored 68 points in 62 exhibition games prior to becoming one of the top players for the U.S. at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

He also starred for the Illinois Midget team that won the 1982 national title after upsetting a Detroit Compuware squad that featured Al Iafrate and 2003 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Pat Lafontaine.

Despite the fact he played fewer than 40 regular-season games due to a severe thumb injury during the 1993-94 season with the Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers, the team petitioned the NHL to get Olczyk's name on the Cup and presented him with the Player's Player award that season. Olczyk played just 37 regular-season games in 1993-94 and suited up for just one playoff game as the Rangers ended their 54-year championship drought.

"That was a tough year for me, and I didn't play a lot," Olczyk said at the time. "My role was etched in stone from Day 1 with [coach] Mike Keenan and I accepted it, but I didn't always like it. I knew I just had to be part of the team, work hard and keep the guys loose, and to win that award in a year we won the Cup was a great feeling.

"My role on the ice was nothing, very small, but off the ice I made my mark. I know I had a deep impact in that locker room, and that has really helped me learn how to deal with things."

Lamoriello, who will be honored as a builder, is only three years removed from his enshrinement into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2009.

"All of this is simply a compliment to people I've had the fortune to be associated with," Lamoriello told reporters at the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "Look at how fortunate I am. I spent over 20 years with one university [Providence College] and over 20 years with one franchise."

Lamoriello's resume includes three Stanley Cups in 24 seasons as CEO/president/general manager of the Devils, a U.S. World Cup gold medal with Modano in 1996, a role as a founder of Hockey East and a distinguished 22-year career as a player, coach and athletic director at Providence. He was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame in 1982. Lamoriello was recruited from Providence in 1987 by former Devils owner John McMullen and was a visionary in bringing Russian players to the NHL.

Since taking over the Devils in 1987, the franchise has missed the playoffs just three times while advancing to the Stanley Cup Final on five occasions. New Jersey dropped a six-game series to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Cup Final.

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