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US Hockey Hall of Fame

Fischler, Holmgren, McNab elected to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Class of 2020 also to be enshrined in December

by William Douglas @WDouglasNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Stan Fischler, Paul Holmgren and Peter McNab have been elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2021, USA Hockey announced Thursday.

Fischler, the award-winning journalist and broadcaster known as The Hockey Maven, and former NHL players Holmgren and McNab, will be inducted in December with the Class of 2020, whose enshrinement was postponed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

"Stan, Paul and Peter have all had an enormously positive impact on American hockey over the course of many decades," USA Hockey president Mike Trimboli said. "Their extraordinary contributions to our sport continue today and will be felt for generations to come. Our warmest congratulations to each of them on their well-deserved selection and we look forward to the formal enshrinement ceremonies later this year."

The Class of 2020 is comprised of former NHL player Tony Granato; Boston College coach Jerry York; Dean Blais, who won two NCAA Division I men's championships as coach of the University of North Dakota; and Jenny Potter, a four-time Olympic medalist.

Here's a look at the Class of 2021:

Stan Fischler

Fischler has educated and captivated hockey fans with his authoritative knowledge of the sport as a journalist, historian, author, and broadcaster in a career that has spanned eight decades.

"I had three priorities in life," Fischler said. "My first priority, family, followed by health and hockey. The trick is it's never been work. It's always been fun. To say that I've been working is just a joke. This is my life's laugh, just doing hockey every single day."

Hockey became Fischler's passion ever since his father took him to his first NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 10, 1942. He worked as a publicist for the New York Rangers after he graduated from Brooklyn College in 1954. 

Fischler moved on to newspapers, writing for the Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Journal-American from 1955-66, and was the New York bureau chief for the Toronto Star from 1966-77. He turned to broadcasting in 1973, contributing rink-side analysis of locally televised games of the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association.

Two years later, Fischler joined what's now known as MSG/MSG+. He covered the New York Islanders, Rangers and New Jersey Devils for more than 40 years before retiring from broadcasting after the 2017-18 season. His television work earned him numerous Emmy awards from the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

"I've enjoyed watching Stan over the years, the marvelous way he explains the game and his interaction with the players, the coaches, general managers and even the referees," Holmgren said. "Everyone knows Stan Fischler."

Fischler has authored more than 100 books -- 20 of them with his late wife, Shirley -- that include "The Hockey Encyclopedia," "Everybody's Hockey Book" and "Hockey Chronicle."

He has written for many notable publications, including The New York Times, The Sporting News and The Hockey News. At age 89, he writes weekly columns for NHL.com, the Islanders and Devils, and publishes "The Fischler Report," which has been in circulation for 29 years and covers wide-ranging topics related to the NHL and hockey in general. 

Fischler helped mentor several generations of young people in sports and sports media. He received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2007 for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

"I couldn't play the game," Fischler said. "I did the next best thing: I wrote about it ... If people learned from my books, stimulated by my books, for me, it was a labor of love. I love the fact that some of my books, some of my instruction, has inspired interns to become big shots, good writers in the business. It has been my pleasure. My father used to say, 'My pleasure in pinochle.' My pleasure is hockey." 

Video: Stan Fischler on being in the Hall of Fame

Paul Holmgren

Holmgren played 10 NHL seasons as a forward with the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota North Stars. He scored 323 points (144 goals, 179 assists) in 527 regular-season games and 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 82 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

The Flyers selected Holmgren in the sixth round (No. 108) of the 1975 NHL Draft.

Over five decades, mostly with the Flyers, Holmgren is the only person in their history to be a player (1975-84), assistant coach (1985-88), coach (1988-92), general manager (2006-14) and president (2014-19). He was also director of pro scouting (1995-97), director of player personnel (1997-99), assistant general manager (1999-06) and team president (2014-19).

Holmgren made his NHL debut March 25, 1976, against the Rangers at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, the first of 500 games with the Flyers. He scored an NHL career-high 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) in 74 games in 1979-80 to help the Flyers to a 35-game undefeated streak (25 wins, 10 ties) and the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost the best-of-7 series to the Islanders in six games. In Game 2, an 8-3 Flyers win, Holmgren became the first United States-born player to score a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Holmgren was traded to Minnesota on Feb. 23, 1984. He retired after the 1984-85 season and returned to Philadelphia to coach under Mike Keenan. He became the first former Flyers player to become their coach on June 1, 1988 and was 107-126-31 over four seasons.

"To be able to play in the NHL, I consider a high honor," Holmgren said. "I was able to coach in the NHL, be a GM in the NHL. All those are honors for me … I realize, I know I've been blessed to get to know the people I've got to know along the way. I got to work for (Flyers owner) Ed Snider, I worked with Bob Clarke, he was my roommate for many years. I got to know (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman, I got to know Brian Burke, legends in the game … I worked with Mike Keenan. I coached Mark Howe, I coached Chris Pronger. So many great things have happened because I was fortunate enough, blessed enough to be able to be part of this game, this great game of hockey." 

Holmgren worked four seasons for the Hartford Whalers. He was named coach June 15, 1992 and added general manager duties before the 1993-94 season. He stepped down as coach 17 games into that season to focus on the GM job but was reappointed coach on June 28, 1994 after Jim Rutherford was named GM. Holmgren was 54-93-14 in 161 games in four seasons coaching the Whalers.

Holmgren's relationship with USA Hockey mirrors his time with the Flyers. He represented the United States internationally as a player, coach and in the front office. He played for the United States in the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship in 1974, was an assistant general manager for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey 2016; assistant GM of the 2006 U.S. Men's National Team; and an assistant for the United States at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Holmgren played one season (1974-75) at the University of Minnesota and scored 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 37 games.

"I look back and I hear people talk about work and this and that and I had a bad day at work," Holmgren said. "I don't remember having a bad day at work, I really don't. I got to play hockey, I got to be involved in hockey, I got to watch a lot of hockey games. And if it wasn't for USA Hockey and all the work they've done at the grassroots level, for me growing up, who knows what would have happened, but I was able to be involved in hockey my whole life and for that I'm grateful."

Video: NHL Tonight on U.S. Hall of Fame inductees

Peter McNab

McNab played 14 seasons (1973-87) as a forward with the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Devils. He scored 813 points (363 goals, 450 assists) in 955 regular-season games and 82 points (40 goals, 42 assists) in 107 playoff games.

The son of former NHL player and general manager Max McNab, Peter was selected by the Sabres in the sixth round (No. 85) of the 1972 NHL Draft. He scored an NHL career-high 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 80 games for the Bruins in 1976-77 and was named a Wales Conference All-Star.

"My dad, who I had the utmost respect for, he was pretty much what I thought a hockey person should be," McNab said. "And I think, before I get ridiculously emotional, I think he would be proud of what I've done in the sport. I think he would like the person that I am inside the sport. As far as a legacy, just to make my dad proud is as high an honor, as good a feeling as I could have." 

McNab scored at least 40 twice (41 in 1977-78, 40 in 1979-80) and at least 70 points in seven consecutive seasons (1976-83). He's 13th in Bruins history in points (587), 11th in goals (263) and eighth in playoff goals (38). He played in the Stanley Cup Final three times in a span of four seasons, losing to the Flyers with the Sabres in 1975 and twice to the Montreal Canadiens with Boston in 1977 and 1978.

"It was a team and we cared," McNab said of the Bruins. "We went [two] years in a row in probably the most frustrating losses we've ever had. As a group, it was so spectacular to be a part of it. Over the course of time, I've met more people who lived in New England who loved that team because they had character, they had a personality, they were a special group. And to say I was part of it is such an honor. It was so much fun, maybe actually too much fun at times."

McNab played in 10 international competitions for the United States, including the 1986 IIHF World Championship. He played 105 games for the University of Denver from 1970-73 and scored 170 points (78 goals, 92 assists).

In 2020-21, McNab completed his 25th season as TV color analyst for the Colorado Avalanche. He began his broadcasting career in 1987-88 with the Devils and provided color commentary and studio analysis during the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympics.

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