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Vanbiesbrouck To Enter U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
By Dave Joseph for

Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, who helped lead the Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals, was one of four players announced Wednesday who will be enshrined come October into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

Vanbiesbrouck, a native of Detroit, Mich., will be inducted Oct. 12 along with Bobby Carpenter, Aaron Broten and the late John MacInnis as a member of the Class of 2007 during a dinner ceremony at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks, ND.

“It’s a truly a humbling time,” Vanbiesbrouck said Wednesday during a conference call.

Vanbiesbrouck’s 20-year, NHL career (1982-2002) represents the
 longest tenure for an American-developed goaltender in NHL history. In total, he  played in 882 games and recorded 374 wins, the most by any American-born goalie.

During his five seasons with the Panthers, Vanbiesbrouck, selected in the Expansion Draft, played in 268 games, winning 106. During the 1995-96 season, Vanbiesbrouck was 26-20-7 with a 2.68 goals against average. He was 12-10 in the playoffs with a 2.25 goals against average.

It was early during the 1995-96 season that Vanbiesbrouck used the term ‘Rat Trick’ to describe teammate Scott Mellanby scoring two goals in a game after killing a rat in the Panther dressing room. It officially kicked off the Panthers’ ‘Year of the Rat.’

Vanbiesbrouck, who recently returned to South Florida to participate in the ‘Year of the Rat’ reunion game, had 40 career shutouts and a 2.98 goals against average while playing with the Panthers, Flyers, Islanders, Devils and Rangers. He played in three All-Star games, won the Vezina for being voted the best goalie in 1986, and was a member of the Rangers team in 1991-92 that won the President’s Trophy. Vanbiesbrouck also played in the ’98 Olympics, four world championships and two Canada Cups.

Vanbiesbrouck, an NHL color commentator, thanked his family and singled out Roger Neilson, his coach during his first two seasons with the Panthers.

“He left a big, lasting mark on my life in many way,” Vanbiesbrouck said.

Broten, who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota, played 748 NHL games for five different teams. Carpenter, the first player to make the jump from high school to the NHL, played 19 seasons for the Capitals, Bruins, Kings, Rangers and Devils amassing 728 points. MacInnis is one of the most celebrated college coaches in US Hockey history.
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