Walter Bush, a founder of the Minnesota North Stars and a key figure in USA Hockey, died Thursday. He was 86.
Bush was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
"Walter Bush was a formidable presence at all levels of the hockey world," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Walter made important and lasting contributions to the sport. His impact was felt, nationally and internationally, in the professional and the amateur ranks, in women's hockey as well as men's. He helped launch the Minnesota North Stars, helped found the Central Hockey League, worked tirelessly to get women's hockey into the Olympics, and properly earned global respect for his devotion to the growth of hockey everywhere. Most important, Walter was a wonderful man -- loved and respected and a delight to be with. The NHL family sends thoughts of condolence and comfort to Walter's family and many friends."
Bush, a native of Minneapolis, was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980 and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2009. He won the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1973 for his contributions to the sport in the United States.
The North Stars began play in the NHL in 1967-68. The franchise moved to become the Dallas Stars for the 1993-94 season.
Bush played a large role in the addition of women's hockey to the Olympics in 1998.