Modano tops list of new US Hockey Hall of Famers
October 17, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
DALLAS -- Mike Modano made his mark long before he and the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas and brought hockey to the Sun Belt.
Once he got there in 1993, he didn't miss a beat.
Modano, the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history, joined longtime New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, and player-turned-broadcaster Ed Olczyk, as the newest inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.
Modano, who played his final NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings, leads U.S.-born players in goals (561) and points (1,374).
Olczyk was taken with the No. 3 pick in the 1984 draft by his hometown Chicago Blackhawks and went on to play 16 years in the NHL after starting his career as an 18-year old rookie.
Olczyk finished with 342 goals and 794 points in 1,031 games with Chicago, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets, the New York Rangers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He returned to the Blackhawks for his last two years in the NHL and retired in 2000. Olczyk is now NBC's lead hockey game analyst.
Lamoriello is entering the U.S. Hall of Fame as a builder, three years after his induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
"The Americans are here, if that's the way to say it, and here to stay in every way," Lamoriello said.
Lamoriello's distinguished career started long before he joined the Devils and built them into perennial winners. With New Jersey, Lamoriello has earned three Stanley Cup championships in 24 seasons, and two other Eastern Conference titles — including last season.
Along with Modano, Lamoriello was also part of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Lamoriello served as the general manager of the American squad that beat Canada for the title.
Also on Monday, Bob Chase-Wallenstein and Dick Patrick were presented with the Lester Patrick Trophy. Chase, who made his mark at WOWO — a 50,000-watt station in Fort Wayne, Indiana — has had a great impact on the careers of many current sports broadcasters, including Hockey Hall of Famer Mike "Doc" Emrick.
This year marks the 60th straight season that the 86-year-old Chase will do play-by-play on the radio for the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. When he began calling games for the Komets in 1953, the Negaunee, Michigan, native was three months removed from college at Northern Michigan.
Dick Patrick is the third member of the Patrick family to earn this award named for his grandfather — joining uncle Lynn Patrick and cousin Craig Patrick. Dick Patrick has helped hockey grow in the nation's capital during his 30 years with the Washington Capitals.
Murray Costello was honored with the Wayne Gretzky Award for his work that helped the Canadian Hockey Association and the former independent Hockey Canada organization join forces to form the new Hockey Canada in 1994.
After the merger, Canada won four of the next five gold medals at the World Junior Championship with Costello at the forefront. Costello also oversaw the formation of the Canadian women's team and the rapid development of the sport that paved the way for the debut of women's hockey at the 1998 Olympics.
Inductee Mike Modano, left, is greeted by Ron DeGregorio before addressing the crowd during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Dallas, Monday, Oct. 15. (AP)