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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1999

Rod Langway
Gordie Roberts
Sid Watson

1999 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Although from the unlikely birthplace of Taiwan, Rod Langway became one of the NHL’s premier defenseman.  The six-foot-three, 220-pounder even went on to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman for both the 1983 and 1984 seasons.

Langway grew up in Randolph, MA, and attended Randolph High School, where he led the team to a couple of state championship appearances in both 1973 and 1975.  From there, he decided to attend the University of New Hampshire, where he starred in both hockey and football.

Drafted by Montreal in the second round of the 1977 NHL Entry Draft, as well as by the WHA’s Birmingham Bulls, Langway opted to leave school early and play for the Bulls.  But, after only one season on Birmingham, he made the jump back to the NHL, where he suited up for the Canadiens in 1978.

There, under the guidance of Hall of Famer Larry Robinson, Langway learned the science of being a defenseman.  It didn’t take long for the youngster to shine either, as he played a significant role in helping the team to win its fourth straight Stanley Cup title that year.

From there he only got better, even winning a pair of Norris Trophies in both 1983 and 1984, as the league’s top defenseman, with the Washington Capitals.  The “Stay at Home” defender also went on to captain Team USA at the 1981, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments.

All in all, Langway played 15 years in the NHL, earning All-Star honors from 1983-1985, and played in six All Star games as well.

1999 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Born and raised in Detroit, Gordie Roberts grew up as the youngest of four hockey-loving brothers.  So much did his family like hockey, that he was even named after Detroit Red Wing’s legend Gordie Howe!

After starring at all youth levels of the game, at the age of 15 he made the jump to play ‘Junior-B hockey for the Detroit Big D’s”, which was made up mostly of kids in their late teens.  In 1973, he joined the Junior Red Wings of the Southern Ontario Junior League, and quickly got noticed by the professional scouts.  By the age of 17, he had signed with the New England Whalers, and well on his way to long and illustrious pro career.

Known for his rugged style of play and dependability, Gordie Roberts was also an excellent offensive-minded defenseman who could rush the puck up the ice in a hurry.  Well liked and respected by his peers, he went on to become a 20-year veteran of professional hockey.  The six-foot, 180-pound defenseman was the first U.S. born player to play 1,000 games in the NHL and also played over 300 games in the World Hockey Association (WHA) for the New England Whalers, totaling over 1,400 combined professional games and registering a combined point total of 606 points.  (In addition, Roberts played for Team USA in two World Championship tournaments, and also in the 1984 Canada Cup.)

While he may have gained most of his notoriety in the NHL as a fan-favorite of the North Stars, Roberts was also part of two Stanley Cup Champion teams as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in both 1991 and 1992.  In fact, Roberts’ Pen’s beat those very North Stars in the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.

Over his 15-year NHL career he played for six teams, including Hartford, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Boston.  Roberts recorded 10 NHL seasons with 20 or more assists and averaged more than 73 games played as well.  He also played in 153 playoff games and scored 57 post-season points as well.  He finished his pro career in 1995 while playing in the IHL.

1999 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

A native of Andover, MA, Sid Watson grew up loving to play hockey.  He will be forever linked to Bowdoin College’s legendary hockey program, which he oversaw for more than two decades and developed into a four-time ECAC Champion.  Watson’s hockey teams qualified for the Division II playoffs 16 times and won ECAC Division II championships in 1971, 1975, 1976 and 1978.  Overall, he compiled a gaudy record of 326-210-11.

As a hockey coach, Watson has received numerous accolades.  He was the recipient of the Eddie Jeremiah Memorial Trophy, recognizing the national Small College Coach of the Year, in 1970, 1971 and 1978; and in 1976 was named as the UPI’s Eastern Small College Coach of the Year.  In addition, in both 1969 and 1970 he was given the Clark Holder Award as New England’s Coach of the Year; and in 1966 he was named as the UPI’s New England Coach of the Years.  In 1983 he also won the Schaeffer Pen Award for outstanding contributions to New England hockey.

As an administrator, he served as Bowdoin’s Athletic Director.  He was also the chairman of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules and Tournament Committee for six years, and served as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and a member of the board of governors of the American College Hockey Coaches Association.  Watson also is a member of the Northeastern University, Maine and Andover, Massachusetts Halls of Fame.

Aside from being a very talented player himself, Watson was also a star National Football League halfback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, from 1955-57, and Washington Redskins in 1958. Over his four-year career in the NFL, Watson rushed for 516 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 423 yards receiving out of the backfield for another two touchdowns.  In addition, he was a crafty punt and kick-off return man, even running back another six balls for TD’s as well.

Said fellow Hall of Famer Bill Cleary: “Sid has done so much for the sport of hockey, not only in coaching, but by being very active in the AHCA and the NCAA Rules Committee’s.  He has made tremendous contributions to the sport both as a player, but more significantly as a college coach and administrator.  He has developed so many young men as people as well as hockey players.”