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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2000

Neal Broten
Larry Pleau
Doug Palazzari
1960 US Olympic Team

2000 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Perhaps nothing says hockey and Minnesota louder than that of Neal Broten. He is without question, the Land of 10,000 Lakes’ greatest and most beloved player, having seemingly done it all out on the frozen pond.

After leading his Roseau Rams to a pair of high school tournament bids, the speedy forward went on to play an instrumental role as a freshman in leading the Gophers to an NCAA championship in 1979.  He notched the winning goal in the Finals against North Dakota and assisted on another which gave him a total of 50 for the year, breaking a 25-year old school record.  He was named WCHA rookie-of-the-year and went on to dominate at the collegiate level.

In 1980, Broten joined Gopher Coach Herb Brooks on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, where he played a big part in bringing home the gold.  From there, he returned to the U of M to play with his younger brother, Aaron, and in 1981, the All-American was named as the first ever recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, honoring the nation’s top player.

From there, he joined his hometown North Stars, who were in the midst of a playoff run that took them all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.  It would be the beginning of an amazing NHL career that was later highlighted by another Stanley Cup run in 1991.  The North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, and so did Neal. He was traded to New Jersey in 1995, however, where he finally won a Cup with the Devils.

Fifteen of Broten’s 17 years were spent with the North Stars and Dallas Stars, as he closed his illustrious career as the franchise’s all time leader in scoring, assists, games played, seasons, shorthanded goals, playoff games and playoff assists.  His No. 7 was later retired by the Dallas Stars in 1998.

2000 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Larry Pleau was named general manager of the St. Louis Blues on June 9, 1997.  After two seasons as Blues’ GM, Pleau has stabilized the organization’s talent base, while steering the team towards challenging for the Stanley Cup.

Under Pleau, the Blues have had consecutive first round draft choices, in 1998 & 199, for the first time in 10 years, and he also introduced player mini-camps for the team’s top prospects.  His fan and media-friendly approach has gained him respect around the league as one of the most progressive thinking GM’s in hockey today.

In 1999, Pleau signed scoring leader Pavol Demitra to a new contract and re-signed centers Pierre Turgeon and Craig Conroy to new deals as well.  He also acquired goaltender Roman Turek from the Dallas Stars prior to the 1999 expansion draft - all moves that led to the team posting the best record in the NHL.

Pleau joined the Blues after spending eight seasons with the New York Rangers organization, most recently as vice president of player personnel. He joined the Rangers in 1989 as assistant general manager of player development. Prior to joining the Rangers, Pleau spent 17 seasons with the Hartford Whalers organization as a player, assistant coach, head coach, general manager and minor league general manager and head coach.  He was also instrumental in drafting Ray Ferraro, Ron Francis, Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelson while a member of the Whalers organization.

Pleau played three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens (1969-1972) in the National Hockey League before being the first player signed by the Hartford Whalers of the World Hockey Association. He was a center/left wing for the Whalers from 1972 until his retirement in 1979.  He played in 468 regular season games for Hartford, accumulating 157 goals and 215 assists for 372 points.

In addition, he also played for the 1968 United States Olympic Team, the 1969 U.S. National Team and for Team USA in the 1976 Canada Cup.

One of the game’s great innovators, Pleau has emerged as one of the NHL’s most successful executives.

2000 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Doug Palazzari was named executive director of USA Hockey in 1999, signaling yet another important milestone in a lifelong hockey career that has spanned the spectrum from player to coach to administrator.

As executive director of USA Hockey, Palazzari directs the day-to-day operations of a National Governing Body that provides programs and services to more than 560,000 ice and in-line hockey players, coaches, officials and volunteers nationwide.

Prior to being named executive director of USA Hockey, Palazzari oversaw the organizations Youth and Education Programs for eight years, most recently as senior director.  His duties provided extensive involvement with the USA Hockey Youth Council, Girls/Women Section and High School Section, as well as supervising the Coaching and Officiating Programs.

As a youngster in Eveleth, Palazzari grew up in a hockey-loving family.  His father, Aldo, played for the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.  Doug went on to star for the Eveleth Golden Bears High School team, and then went on to Colorado College, where he led CC in scoring in both 1972 and 1974, earning All-American and WCHA MVP honors during those same seasons.

Following his college career, Palazzari spent eight seasons (1974-82) playing professionally in the St. Louis Blues’ system.  He registered 38 points on 18 goals and 20 assists in 108 regular-season games in the NHL, but made his greatest impact while playing for the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles of the CHL – the Blues’ top minor league affiliate at the time.  Palazzari was twice honored as the CHL’s MVP (1978 & 1980) and was tabbed as the league’s all-time Greatest Player by The Hockey News as well.

Palazzari’s international playing experience includes being selected as a member of the 1973 and 1974 U.S. National Teams, and also representing the United States in the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976.

In addition, he has served in a coaching capacity for USA Hockey several times, most recently in 1991, as head coach for the U.S. Select-16 Team. He was also an assistant for the U.S. at the Olympic Festival in 1991, the 1989 U.S. Select-17 Team and for the teams that represented the U.S. at the 1987 Pravda and 1986 Calgary Cups.  He also served as an assistant at CC from 1985-91 as well. 

2000 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

The first “miracle on ice” occurred in 1960 when a group of talented, feisty, and experienced Americans took to the ice at Squaw Valley, California to win their first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey. Brimming with confidence after winning the first four games in pool play against Czechoslovakia, Australia, Sweden, and Germany, the underdog Americans matched the heavily favored Canadians and upset them 2-1. The Americans then went on to play the Soviets, which they had never beaten in international play, and in another thriller, went on to a 3-2 vidory. With little time to celebrate, the American team was scheduled to play the Czechs at eight o’clock the next morning. After falling behind 4-3 after two periods, the Americans roared back to play one of the most thrilling third periods in Olympic ice hockey history. They scored six goals to beat the Czechs with a 9-4 vidory and secured a gold medal for the United States. Inspirational leadership from Captain John Kirrane, brilliant goaltending by Jack McCartan, scoring from the brother combination forwards—the Christian’s and the Cleary’s, and strong defensive plays by John Mayasich all helped contribute to the stunning vidory and the undefeated championship.