-- Minnesota Wild founding owner Bob Naegele, Jr., Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke, 21-year NHL defenseman Phil Housley and Hockey Hall of Fame left wing Ted Lindsay have been named recipients of the 2008 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.MORE: NHL.COM CATCHES UP WITH THE WINNERS
The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach, and general manager, and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.
The recipients will be honored at the 2008 Lester Patrick Awards Luncheon Oct. 22 in Minnesota. Further details on the event, including ticket information, will be announced at a later date.
A born and bred Minnesotan who played goal for Minnetonka High School, Naegele became the lead investor of an informal association of hockey enthusiasts whose dream was to see the return of NHL hockey to Minnesota. The group, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment, helped Minnesota hockey fans realize their dream on June 25, 1997, when the NHL announced that St. Paul was awarded an expansion franchise. The Minnesota Wild began competing in the 2000-01 season at the new Xcel Energy Center.
With Naegele as majority owner, the Wild became one of the most successful expansion franchises in pro sports. The team has played in front of capacity crowds for every home game in franchise history, a streak that encompasses seven seasons and 319 pre-season, regular-season and playoff games.
Born in New England and raised in Minnesota, Brian Burke has been passionate advocate for the game over a career that spans more than 35 years as a player, player representative and senior executive at both the League and Club level. Burke played hockey at Providence College (1973-77) and with the AHL Maine Mariners (1977-78), returned to the classroom to obtain his degree from Harvard Law School (1981) and practiced law in Boston for the next six years as a player representative.
Burke launched his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks in 1987 as VP Hockey Operations, a post he held until joining the Hartford Whalers as General Manager in 1992. He joined the NHL front office in 1993 as Senior VP/Hockey Operations and returned to Vancouver in 1998 for a six-year stint as the Canucks' President and General Manager.
Burke has served as Executive VP and General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks since 2005, re-tooling the club into an aggressive, up-tempo squad that became the first California club to capture the Stanley Cup in 2007. In June, Burke was named President and General Manager of the 2010 U.S. entry at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Phil Housley made headlines when the Buffalo Sabres selected the 18-year-old South St. Paul High School star with the sixth overall pick of the 1982 Entry Draft. Only one U.S.-born player had been taken with a higher draft pick -- Massachusetts prep prodigy Bob Carpenter, who went third overall to Washington the previous year. Housley made a successful jump from high school to the NHL, leading all first-year defensemen in scoring with 66 points (19 goals, 47 assists) and earning a place on the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 1982-83.
Housley went on to play 21 NHL seasons with eight clubs and retired as the League's all-time leader among U.S.-born players in games (1,495) and points (338-894--1,232). He currently ranks second in both categories, trailing Chris Chelios (1,616) and Mike Modano (1,283), respectively. Housley was a member of the United States team that defeated Canada to win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, captured a silver medal with Team USA at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and also represented his country in one World Junior Championship, two Canada Cups and six World Championships. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.
An icon in Detroit sports history, Ted Lindsay played 14 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and was a key member of the Red Wings dynasty that captured seven consecutive regular-season titles and four Stanley Cups from 1948-49 through 1954-55. Playing much of his career at left wing on the Red Wings' famed 'Production Line' alongside right wing Gordie Howe and center Sid Abel, Lindsay captured the League scoring title in 1949-50, made 11 All-Star Game appearances and was named an NHL First Team All-Star eight times.
Traded to Chicago in 1957-58, Lindsay played three seasons with the Blackhawks before retiring following the 1959-60 season. He made a storied one-season comeback with the Red Wings in 1964-65, helping the club to a first-place finish, and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966. Lindsay later served as Red Wings General Manager from 1976-77 through 1979-80 and also coached the club for parts of the 1979-80 and 1980-81 campaigns.