Located in Eveleth, Minn., the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1973, and there are currently 134 enshrined members. The quartet will be formally inducted on Friday, October 10, at Magness Arena on the campus of the University of Denver. U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of accomplishments in the game of hockey, sportsmanship, character, contributions to their teams and to the game of hockey in general. A nominee must have distinguished him/herself by exceptional performance and outstanding character reflecting favorably upon the game of hockey.
“The Class of 2008 is one of the most accomplished groups that’s ever been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Ron DeGregorio, President of USA Hockey. “It is indeed with great pleasure that we welcome them to the group of hockey immortals in our country.”
Hull recorded 1,391 career NHL points and is third all-time with 741 goals during a career that spanned more than 20 years and five teams (Calgary, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix). In his first full NHL season, with St. Louis in 1988-89, he scored 41 goals and captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Hull scored 70-plus goals in each of the next three seasons, including a career-high 86 goals in 1990-91, when he earned the Lester B. Pearson Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP. After 11 seasons in St. Louis, Hull signed with the Dallas Stars in the summer of 1998 and helped the club win the Stanley Cup in his first year with the club. He also won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002.
Hull’s international career was just as decorated. In his second Winter Olympics, he led the United States to the silver medal in Salt Lake City in 2002. He also led Team USA to gold at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996, topping the tournament in scoring, and also participated in the 1991 Canada Cup and 1986 World Championships. The nine-time NHL All-Star starred two seasons (1984-86) at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he scored 52 goals and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as a sophomore. No college player has scored more goals in single season since.
“It’s hard to put into words how big an honor this is to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Hull, “especially to be going in with Cammi Granato, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch. I appreciate everything USA Hockey has done for me over the years and this is a major thrill. I am deeply honored to be a part of this class and I look forward to the ceremony in October.”
Despite having won two Stanley Cups during his NHL career, Hull still counts his experiences with Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 2002 Winter Olympics among his fondest memories.
“The 1996 World Cup was one of my greatest moments in the game, because I had never won a championship before,” said Hull. “I’d had a lot of personal success but not a lot of team success, so after we won, I remembering asking Chris Chelios what I was supposed to do. It was a great feeling and really enlightened me on what it was like to be part of a championship team. I knew that was a feeling I wanted to have with my NHL team.
“We came so close (to winning the gold) in 2002 in Salt Lake and we could’ve won that final game if it wasn’t for a couple injuries. But we played as well as we possibly could, and as much as we would’ve loved the gold, we came awfully close and did a lot of the things we set out to do. Those are certainly two of the greatest experiences of my life. Having the bond of winning a championship together as a team can’t be topped and I’ll always remember those moments.”
Hull credits USA Hockey for helping foster his development into the player he became, and remains intensely appreciative for the opportunities the organization granted him.
“I am learning now as an NHL general manager that it is difficult to see the potential in younger players,” said Hull, “but USA Hockey showed faith in me and gave me a chance to find out who I was as a player. I was a freshman in college and I honestly didn’t know where I was headed when I was offered the opportunity to play at the 1986 World Championships. I feel that if it wasn’t for that tournament, I’m not sure I would’ve been an NHL player. I’ve never forgotten that and I’ll always be grateful for that.”