Phil Housley established himself as one of the greatest defensemen the game has ever seen by amassing 1,232 points across 21 seasons in the NHL. Now, he’ll be enshrined on hockey’s grandest stage for all time.
The Predators assistant coach was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Monday afternoon, joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger, Angela Ruggiero, Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos as the newest members of the Hall.
“I can’t tell you how shocked, excited and extremely proud I am of being able to enter with all these great players and this year’s class,” Housley said via conference call shortly after the announcement. “I’ve been patiently waiting, and there have been so many great players before me to be inducted, and to finally get that call, it’s still surreal. It’s a shock, there are a lot of emotions that I can’t describe, but I tell you, it’s something that I’m very excited about.”
The player turned coach, about to embark on his third season with Nashville, is the highest scoring American-born defenseman of all time, trailing only Mike Modano for most points by an American in NHL history.
Drafted sixth overall in the 1982 Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres as an 18-year-old, Housley was quick to make a name for himself in the NHL, making the jump right from high school to score 19 goals and 66 points during in his first season in the League.
Housley only improved from there, going on to top the 20-goal plateau seven times, eventually scoring 338 over his career, good enough for fourth all-time among defensemen. His 894 career assists are fifth most by a blueliner.
The St. Paul, Minn. native, appeared in seven NHL All-Star Games and is one of only 11 defensemen to be among the Top 100 scorers in NHL history.
Also a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame and the IIHF Hall of Fame, Housley was a part of Team USA’s 1996 World Cup of Hockey Championship team, in addition to skating for Team USA’s 2002 silver medal winning Olympic team, and playing in seven World Championships.
When his career as a player came to a close after the 2002-03 season, Housley stepped behind the bench, first in the Minnesota high school ranks, then with USA Hockey, coaching the 2013 U.S. Team to the IIHF World Junior Championship.
On May 22, 2013, Housley was named an assistant coach with the Predators, jumping back into the NHL ranks. Along with Peter Laviolette and Kevin McCarthy, Housley helped to guide the Preds to a 47-25-10 record during the 2014-15 season.
“He’s one of the best defenseman of all-time, and having a guy like that coach you is definitely great,” Preds defenseman Roman Josi told NashvillePredators.com last season. “He knows what to do in different situations and he’s been teaching us a lot. He talks to us a lot and it’s helpful, especially for young guys. You want to get better and you want to learn from guys like him.”
Housley, along with the other nominees, will be part of the 2015 Induction Ceremony, held Monday, Nov. 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.