skip navigation

US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2004

Paul Coppo
Phil Housley
Mike Ilitch
Mark Johnson

2004 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

One of the top American-born centermen of his generation, Paul Coppo played collegiate hockey at Michigan Technical University from 1956-60.  He led the team in scoring during his junior and senior years, and ended his career with a total of 134 points on 59 goals and 75 assists.  During the 1958-59 season, he played center on a line that scored a school-record 60 goals, and his 31 assists for the year tied a Huskies record at the time. Coppo received All-America honorable mention recognition as a junior in 1959.  The following year, he helped lead the Huskies into the NCAA finals, gaining all-tournament honors, and was named a First Team All-American.  In addition, Coppo had only six penalties during his collegiate career, which spanned 85 games over four years.  Inducted on Aug. 3, 1985 into Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame, he still ranks as one of the top 20 all-time scorers in the ice hockey program's history.

Coppo was the leading scorer for the 1962 US Men’s National Team that won the bronze medal with a 5-2-0 record in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He competed and led his team in scoring in the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria as the U.S. placed fifth.  Coppo also represented the United States at the 1965, 1966 and 1969 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championships.  

He played 15 years, 11 as a player and 4 as a player/coach, for the Green Bay Bobcats in the United States Hockey League.  At Green Bay, Coppo recorded 559 points (231-328) and was the team’s all time leading scorer.  He recorded only 164 penalty minutes in his 15 years as a Bobcat.  Coppo served as a youth hockey coach in DePere, Wisconsin for over a decade.

2004 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Known as one of the top offensive defensemen in the country, Phil Housley made the leap from South St. Paul High School to the professional ranks at age 18.  During his senior season at South St. Paul High School, he registered 65 points (31-34) in 22 games.  Housley was selected in the first round, sixth overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

After 1,495 regular-season games played, the most by any American, Housley was the top scoring U.S. – born player, with 1,232 points (338-894), and was listed behind only Bryan Trottier and Brett Hull in scoring among American players in the NHL.  Housley began his NHL career with Buffalo in 1982, where he compiled 558 points (178-380) in 608 goals.  In his rookie season he was tied for fourth in goals (19) and ranked fourth in points (66) by a rookie defenseman.  Housley played for eight different NHL teams in his 21-year career, including the Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, and Chicago Blackhawks and finished with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2003.  He was ranked fourth in all-time goals scored by a defenseman with 338 and fifth in assists by a defenseman with 894.  Housley ranked 16th among all-time assist leaders, and second in that category among Americans.

In 1982, Housley competed in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship and skated for the U.S. at the IIHF Men’s World Championship.  In 1986 Housley once again donned the USA sweater in the World Championship, where he recorded two goals and six assists in 10 games.  Housley was a seven-time member of the United States Men’s National Team (1982, 1986, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2003), as well as a member of the U.S. 2002 Olympic Men’s Team that competed in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He helped Team USA to a 4-1-1 record and the silver medal. Housley recorded five points (1-4) in six games, and registered the game-winning goal in the semifinal round in a 3-2 victory over Russia.  In 2000, Housley was the team’s leading scorer at the World Championship in Russia, with five points (2-3) in nine games.  He was a member of the 2001 U.S. Men’s National Team that finished fourth at the World Championship in Germany and was a member of the historic championship-winning U.S. team that competed in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996.  Housley recently served as an assistant coach with the U.S. National Under-18 Team at the Four Nations Cup in November 2003 Hutwill, Switzerland.  The team registered a 2-1-0 record and brought home the silver medal.

Housley was awarded USA Hockey’s 2000 Bob Johnson Award, presented by Bauer Nike, for excellence in international competition.  His jersey was the first retired at South St. Paul High School in a ceremony in February of 2004.

2004 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

A Detroit, Michigan native, for Mike Ilitch, the sport of hockey has been an integral part of his life for more than three decades.  Through his involvement in his Little Caesars Pizza business that Ilitch built from the ground up, as well as amateur and professional sports, he has learned what it takes to create a winning team.  Ilitch’s commitment to amateur hockey is legendary, as he has sponsored amateur teams since 1968.  His Little Caesars AAA Hockey program is one of the most recognized and respected organizations in amateur hockey as in the past 37 years, more than 200,000 youngsters have participated in the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey Club and these teams have a proud tradition of success, having captured numerous tournament titles, state championships and national championships.  While winning is important, the major goal has always been to develop well-rounded individuals who are prepared for future careers on or off the ice.  Currently, 27 alumni of the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club are playing, or have played, in the National Hockey League including current Detroit Red Wing, Derian Hatcher.  Additionally, more than 175 other former Little Caesars players have established careers in collegiate hockey or other hockey leagues.

Ilitch and his wife, Marian purchased the Detroit Red Wings franchise from the Norris family in 1982 during one of the NHL Original Six franchise’s lowest periods of success on the ice and in the stands.  Under Ilitch’s direction, the Red Wings have developed into one of professional sports’ premier franchises, winning ten Division Championships, four Western Conference Championships, four Presidents’ Trophies and three Stanley Cup titles.  The Red Wings have a current streak of 367 consecutive sellouts at Joe Louis Arena and were recently voted the No. 1 franchise in the NHL and No. 8 in all of professional sports by ESPN Magazine.  That same issue honored Ilitch as the No. 1 owner in all of professional sports.

Ilitch has received Presidential Citations from the Clinton, Bush and Reagan administrations.  He has been honored as the recipient of the 1991 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States and inducted to both the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2003 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.  

2004 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Growing up the son of legendary hockey coach “Badger Bob” Johnson, it was no wonder Mark Johnson would go on to achieve greatness.  Raised in the Badger State, Johnson went on to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin and led the Badgers to the 1977 national championship during his freshman campaign—garnering WCHA Rookie of the Year honors along the way. Johnson would emerge as a star in Madison, becoming the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 256 points in just three seasons.  In addition, the two-time first team All-WCHA pick and a two-time All-American was named as the 1978-78 WCHA MVP as well.

From there, Johnson went on to represent USA Hockey as a player in 13 international tournaments.  Most notably, he led the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team’s gold medal-winning effort with 11 points, including two goals in the “Miracle-On-Ice” game against the Soviet Union.  Following his Olympic experience, Johnson embarked on a successful 11-year NHL career, garnering 203 goals, 305 assists and 508 points with five different teams from 1980-90.

Johnson’s coaching career began when he led the expansion Madison Monsters to a 37-30-7 mark in the 1995-96 season, while earning Colonial Hockey League Coach of the Year honors.  He also led a pair of area high schools, serving as the head coach for Verona for 1994-95 and as the assistant coach for Madison Memorial for 1993-94. Johnson served as an assistant coach with the 2000 World Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia as well as the 2002 U.S. Men’s National Team that competed in the 2002 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Sweden.

From 1996-2002, Johnson was an assistant coach with the University of Wisconsin’s Men’s Hockey Team and in 2002 he took over the head coaching reigns of the University of Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Team - earning WCHA Co-Coach of the Year honors that next year.

Among Johnson’s many honors and accolades, he is a 1999 inductee into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, a 2003 inductee into the State of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and is also a charter member of Wisconsin’s National W Club Hall of Fame.  And, in addition to being inducted with the 1980 Gold Medal Olympic Team into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, the Vince Lombardi Charitable Funds named Johnson as its 2004 Vince Lombardi “Award of Excellence” honoree.