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USA Hockey to honor Costello with Gretzky Award

by Mike G. Morreale

Murray Costello, enshrined as a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, will be bestowed the Wayne Gretzky International Award during U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Plaza of the Americas in Dallas on Oct. 15.

The award, established by the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, pays tribute to international individuals who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States.

Past recipients of the award include Anatoli Tarasov (2008), Herb Brooks (2004), Bobby Hull (2003), Scotty Bowman (2002), Scotty Morrison (2001), the Howe family (2000) and Gretzky (1999).


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"Murray Costello has been a wonderful contributor to hockey's growth in the United States, as well as the world," Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey said. "During his time with the IIHF and Hockey Canada, he has been incredibly forthcoming with the spread of knowledge and ideas that can positively impact American administrators, coaches and players of all ages."

Costello was president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association -- now known as Hockey Canada -- from 1979 through 1998. Among his accomplishments, in 1994, he consolidated the Canadian Hockey Association and the former independent Hockey Canada organization into an all-new organization under the name of Hockey Canada. He also oversaw the formation of the Canadian women's team and, in turn, the rapid development of women's hockey.

Hockey Canada hosted the inaugural IIHF Women's World Championship in 1990, paving the way for the debut of women's hockey in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

Costello, raised in South Porcupine, Ont., was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

"I can tell you that I understand that this is recognition of the amateur side of the game and for the many thousands of volunteers who continue to make it happen year after year across Canada," Costello said during his Hall of Fame induction speech. "I get to take the bow on their behalf because they do the work out there and our system is strong because of it."

He has been an International Ice Hockey Federation Council member since 1998 and served as vice president of the organization since 2008. He has been a key member of numerous IIHF committees, including as chairman of the competition, junior, medical and technical/arena committees.

Throughout his time with Hockey Canada and the IIHF, Costello has been an extremely positive influence on hockey in the United States. He also helped USA Hockey and Hockey Canada collaborate on coaching education projects in the late 1970s. The basis for the U.S.-Canada junior transfer agreement also dates back to Costello's cooperation with USA Hockey executives.

"Murray has been a pleasure to work with during my time at USA Hockey," USA Hockey chairman of the board, Walter L. Bush Jr. said. "He has represented our sport with great class during his time with Hockey Canada and the IIHF. I appreciate all he has done to cooperate with USA Hockey's growth and development for men and women. His willingness to exchange ideas and grow the game across borders has been tremendous."

Costello played in the NHL for three "Original Six" franchises from 1953-57 -- the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. After his playing career ended, Costello earned a law degree and became an executive with the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League. He moved on to become the WHL's publicity director and eventually the arbitrator for the World Hockey Association Players Association.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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