DETROIT -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he was proud of all five members of the 2013 induction class for the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, but he was most excited that Peter Karmanos Jr. was receiving one of hockey's highest honors.
"I consider Pete to be a great friend," Bettman told NHL.com. "It's nice to see somebody who's contributed to the game at all levels get recognized, not just for his ownership of the Hurricanes and winning a Stanley Cup, but the fact that at the grassroots level, teaching thousands of kids how to play the game and how to excel at the game has been immeasurable in terms of the growth of the game."
Bettman also said he was happy to see Doug Weight and Bill Guerin join Karmanos in this year's Hall class. He has seen those players go from Stanley Cup champions as players to development and coaching roles with the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.
"They were always fierce competitors on the ice but really good guys off the ice as well," Bettman said. "And it's not surprising that they excel at whatever they do."
Bettman said he was looking forward to an entertaining evening of dinner and speeches from the honorees.
"This is a group that not only contributed to the growth of the game in the United States, not only had careers of excellence, they're all really nice people," he said. "It's always great to get the hockey family together and celebrate excellence and accomplishments, particularly when it's really good people."