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Guerin named to USA Hockey's Class of '13

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Guerin during the 1992-93 season.
Two players representing the greatest generation of American-born hockey players, a legendary collegiate coach, a female player who set the bar on an international level and the architect responsible for giving hockey a hub in North Carolina headline this year's list of inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

The honorees, announced Thursday by USA Hockey, include former NHL forwards Bill Guerin and Doug Weight, former Michigan State University men's coach Ron Mason, women's international record-holder Cindy Curley, and Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, Jr.

"This is a class that represents extraordinary contribution and success in many different areas of our sport," Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey, said. "It's a truly remarkable collection of individuals, all so very deserving of their place among immortals in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame."

The 41st 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.

The National Hockey League's Lester Patrick Trophy, awarded annually for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, also will be presented during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Guerin, who spent 18 seasons in the NHL with eight different teams prior to retiring in 2010, and Weight, who lasted 19 seasons with six clubs before retiring in 2011, were teammates with the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders and a few United States men's national teams. Most notably, they celebrated a 1996 World Cup of Hockey championship after shocking Canada in Montreal.

"That era of players is amazing," Weight said in an interview last year. "You could name these players throughout our lineup that just had unbelievable careers. Billy G with Keith Tkachuk and Johnny LeClair kind of brought that toughness that Canada always had."

Weight announced his retirement May 26, 2011, after 1,238 games. He finished with 278 goals and 1,033 points, which ranks seventh all-time among U.S.-born players.

His career began with the New York Rangers in 1991. He was traded to the Oilers the following season and spent parts of nine seasons in Edmonton, including a career-best 104 points in 1995-96. After three-plus seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Weight was dealt to Carolina in January 2006 and helped the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup. He returned to St. Louis in the summer of 2006, but was traded again by the Blues in 2007 to Anaheim and signed with the Islanders in the summer of 2008, where he joined then-captain Guerin one final time. A back injury limited him to 18 games in 2010-11, leading to his decision to retire.

In addition to winning the World Cup of Hockey for the United States, Weight also was a three-time Olympian, winning a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

The four-time All-Star currently serves as an Islanders assistant coach and special assistant to general manager Garth Snow. He's also a hockey analyst for the NHL Network.

Guerin totaled 429 goals, which ranks seventh on the U.S. list, and 856 points in 1,263 regular-season games, while also racking up 1,660 penalty minutes. A two-time 40-goal scorer and four-time NHL All-Star, Guerin was best known for his speed and toughness. He won a Stanley Cup in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils, the team that selected him with the fifth pick of the 1989 NHL Draft, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 on a line with Sidney Crosby. He had seven goals and 15 points during Pittsburgh's run to the Cup, which concluded with a Game 7 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.

He also played for the Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Blues, San Jose Sharks and the Islanders. His best season came in 2001-02, when he scored 41 goals with the Bruins. Internationally, Guerin had four goals to help the U.S. win a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics. He also represented the United States at the 1998 and 2006 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup.

Guerin currently serves as a player development coach for Penguins.

Despite the fact he's Canadian-born, Mason became one of the most successful coaches in NCAA ice hockey history, working the bench for Lake Superior State University (1966-73), Bowling Green State (1973-79) and Michigan State (1979-2002). He won two national titles, an NAIA championship in 1972 with Lake Superior State, and an NCAA title in 1986 with the Spartans. He finished with a collegiate-record 924 wins -- a mark that stood until Boston College's Jerry York notched win No. 925 on Dec. 29, 2012.

Mason, who currently serves as senior advisor for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, played at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and led the Saints to their first national championship game appearance in 1962-63.

Curley, who already is enshrined in the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame and Providence College Athletic Hall of Fame, starred for the Friars from 1981-85 and finished her career with 110 goals and 225 points. She was a member of the first two Providence teams to win an ECAC Championship, in 1984 and 1985.

After graduating from Providence, Curley went on to represent the United States four times in international competition, in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1995, playing alongside fellow U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Cammi Granato.

Curley's finest moment came against Norway in the 1990 IIHF World Women's Championship, at the Civic Centre in Ottawa when she struck for a women's-record nine points, including five goals and four assists, in a 17-0 victory. She finished the tournament with a record 23 points (11 goals) in five games to help the Americans to a silver medal. Canada defeated the United States 5-2 in the gold-medal game that year.

Karmanos, who is the principal owner/governor and chief executive officer of the Hurricanes, acquired the NHL franchise June 28, 1994 -- the afternoon of the 1994 NHL Draft, which was held at the Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center.

Three years later, Karmanos moved the team to Raleigh, N.C., and re-named the team the Carolina Hurricanes.

The passionate Karmanos realized every NHL owner's dream when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. The franchise has advanced to the Eastern Conference Final three times in the past 10 seasons, winning conference titles in 2002 and 2006. In 2009, the Hurricanes were recognized as the top hockey franchise and second-ranked organization in all of sports by ESPN in the "Ultimate Standings," a collection of data and survey results taking into account a team's on-ice or on-field success.

Karmanos' efforts also played a huge role in the Hurricanes' being awarded the 2004 NHL Draft and 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend.

Author: Mike G. Morreale | Staff Writer | @mikemorrealeNHL
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