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NHL Centennial

NHL100 red carpet sets stage for 'wonderful' event

Michael J. Fox, Al Michaels, Jon Hamm among celebrities honoring greats

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Sitting in the dressing room moments before hosting the "NHL100 Presented by GEICO" on Friday, Emmy Award winner Jon Hamm could not contain his excitement.

Being front stage and center for an event honoring the 100 greatest NHL players as part of its Centennial Celebration was a thrill for the lifelong St. Louis Blues fan.

"I'm so happy to be part of it," Hamm said backstage at Microsoft Theater. "I've had a relationship with the NHL for some time and I've been a very vocal fan. One hundred years is a big deal. There's not a league of anything that can say they've been around 100 years, and there's a reason. Hockey has had a very specific fan base for a long time … and the product has been consistent on the ice. You talk to fans in the '60s, you talk to fans in the '70s, '80s, all the way through, and they'll tell you 10 things that would drop your jaw."

Hamm, 45, wasn't born when Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr scored the overtime goal "flying through the air to beat my Blues" in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, but the actor appreciates the spectacular moment and its place in NHL history.

"That was in the days before the acrobats now. So it's been consistent and it's fascinating," Hamm said. "We can all run, we can all jump, we can all throw a ball. Not a lot of us can skate."

Hamm said he "can skate fine," but there's no way he'll play in the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout at Staples Center on Saturday, which is part of the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.

"It's such a specific skill set and such an impressive thing to see, watching how good these guys are," Hamm said.

Video: Stars of Hollywood, hockey walk the NHL100 red carpet

Hamm walked the red carpet Friday professing his love of the sport and the Blues alongside other hockey-loving celebrities including NBC Sports play-by-play announcer Al Michaels, actor Michael J. Fox, actress Alyssa Milano, and Five for Fighting singer John Ondrasik.

The first 33 players in the NHL100, who played predominantly during the League's first half century, from 1917-1966, were revealed before the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic in Toronto on Jan. 1. The NHL100 was selected by a 58-member panel that included owners, executives, general managers, coaches, players, and members of the media.

Michaels, who called the "Miracle on Ice" upset by the United States against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, said being a presenter was "phenomenal for me."

"As a kid in New York, my father took me to Madison Square Garden to see a minor league hockey game, the New York Rovers, when I was about 5 years old, and then I graduated to the New York Rangers when I was about 8," Michaels said.

Michaels said his favorite player when he was growing up was Hockey Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate of the Rangers. After Michaels moved to California and the Los Angeles Kings arrived in the NHL's 1967-68 expansion, he became a Kings fan. He said he believes Wayne Gretzky is the greatest player in NHL history but appreciated being around the group of legends.

"To see all these guys on one night and to have them in one venue is wonderful," Michaels said.

Although Eden Sassoon of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" said she wasn't as familiar with the players but was looking forward to seeing them.

"All together all around I love the mind of an athlete," she said. "It's more of just being open and present and feeling the energy everywhere."

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