U.S. Hockey HOF Inducts Five New Members

Ben Glassman

Two of the most recognizable names in American hockey were finally inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night as part of the 2013 class. Doug Weight, who scored over 1,000 points in his 19-year career, and Bill Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup winner and four-time NHL all-star, headlined the class at the 41st U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Detroit. In addition to Weight and Guerin, former Michigan State men’s hockey coach Ron Mason, Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. and former U.S. women’s national team forward Cindy Curley were inducted into the Hall.

Guerin and Weight were always the quintessential American forwards of the 1990s and 2000s in the NHL, and their induction is surely celebrated across the country no matter what allegiances fans may hold. While other forwards like Mike Modano and Brett Hull may have finished their careers with better statistics, Guerin and Weight seemed to embody USA hockey perfectly in the way they played the game –

aggressively, physically and skillfully.

Through 1,263 NHL games, Guerin racked up 1,660 penalty minutes to go along with his 429 goals and 856 points, while Weight, standing at just 5’11”, tallied an impressive 970 penalty minutes in addition to his 1,033 points.

His career stats come as less of a surprise when you consider that Weight has always had an impressive level of tenacity, especially as a child in Michigan. At the age of two, Weight could barely walk due to a medical condition that severely weakened his lower body. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the problem to rectify itself, Weight’s father put ice skates on the toddler at the suggestion of a doctor, with the goal of strengthening his legs. Evidently the treatment worked, and Weight enjoyed a lengthy career as a speedy, hard-skating forward. Six teams enjoyed the benefits of having Weight in their lineup from his rookie season in 1991 to his final season in 2010, including the New York Rangers, the Edmonton Oilers – with whom he spent nine years – and the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes. Oddly enough, in Weight’s lone season in Raleigh, the ‘Canes defeated his former team, the

Oilers, in the Stanley Cup Final.

Like Weight, Massachusetts native Bill Guerin had to overcome some adversity before his jump to hockey stardom. In 1992, after two seasons playing at Boston College, he chose not to sign with the team that had drafted him, the New Jersey Devils, and was slated to head to France to represent the United States in the Winter Olympics as a non-NHL player. Weeks before he left, however, he was abruptly told that he had been cut from the roster, dealing a major blow to both his career path and his pride. He used USA Hockey’s decision to cut him as motivation for the rest of his career, and ended up playing for his country in five

major international events.

Though Weight and Guerin are certainly the inductees whom the majority of people remember most vividly and most fondly, the importance of Mason, Karmanos and Curley ought not to be forgotten. Mason, now 73, played at St. Lawrence University before going on to coach an astounding 36 seasons of collegiate hockey at Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State, where he won an NCAA title in 1986. His 924 wins make him the second winningest coach in NCAA ice hockey history behind Jerry York, who won his 925th game in 2012.

Karmanos holds tremendous importance in USA Hockey as an executive, entrepreneur and visionary. After buying the Hartford Whalers in 1994, he made the historic decision to move the team to the Research Triangle area in North Carolina and to rename the club the Carolina Hurricanes, further expanding the game of hockey in the United States. Curley enjoyed one of the best women’s international hockey careers in history. Most notably, she had an historic 11 goals and 12 assists in just five games in the 1990 Women’s World Hockey Championship. All five inductees are deserving of the honor in their own right. Weight and Guerin have good reason to grab all the headlines however, as the two are synonymous with USA hockey in every way.

Contact Ben Glassman at [email protected]