Modano, Olczyk, Lamoriello Inducted into US Hockey Hall of Fame
Mike Modano, who brought hockey popularity in Texas to new heights, has been inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame together with 16-year veteran Ed Olczyk and New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame also paid tribute to Lester Patrick Trophy winners Dick Patrick and Bob Chase-Wallenstein, as well as Wayne Gretzky Award winner Murray Costello.
Modano, who played 20 of his 21 NHL seasons with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise before announcing his retirement last Sept. 23, is the highest-scoring US-born player in league history with 561 goals and 1374 points.
He, however, clarified that he doesn't want his scoring ability to define him as a player. Rather, he wants to be known as the one who helped make hockey popular in the Lone Star State.
"What I'm most proud of is being a part of a group that brought hockey to Texas," Modano said during his induction speech at the Plaza of the Americas Atrium.
Modano recalled that when he first arrived in Dallas in 1993, there were no more than 100 registered youngsters playing the sport.
"Now there are 10,000 kids registered to play hockey and that's great," Modano said.
Modano also praised fellow inductee Lamoriello for putting together the 1996 team that bagged the World Cup of Hockey crown.
"I'll never forget that 1996 World Cup team that Lou Lamoriello put together," Modano said. "That team was the most talented group of players I've ever been around.
"It's easy to see why Lou is regarded as the Godfather of American hockey," he added.
Olczyk, for his part, fought back tears while thanking four players who served as role models during his 16-year NHL career -- Troy Murray, Denis Savard, Darryl Sutter and Ron Francis.
"They each taught me what was right and how to do things on and off the ice," Olczyk said. "And the two best coaches I ever played for … Bob Pulford and John Paddock. They knew what I could do, they knew my strengths and they gave me an opportunity to play 16 years."
A third overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1984, Olczyk played 16 seasons for the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins.
In 1,031 career NHL games, Olczyk scored 342 goals and had 452 assists for 794 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the 1993-94 Rangers.
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