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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2008

Cammi Granato
Brett Hull
Brian Leetch
Mike Richter

2008 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Catherine "Cammi" Granato's extraordinary playing career, which included captaining the United States to the gold medal in the first-ever Olympic Winter Games that included women’s ice hockey, has played a key role in the growth of hockey not only in the United States, but across the world. 

After learning to play hockey in the backyard of her Downers Grove, Ill., home with her sister and four brothers, Granato skated for the Downers Grove Huskies from kindergarten through her junior year in high school. She was often the only girl and the youngest player on the ice. After a brief break from the game, she began attending hockey camps and then played for the Assabet Valley girls’ program in Massachusetts.

From there, Granato earned a scholarship at Providence College, where she completed a legendary four-year playing career. Beyond establishing scoring records for the Friars in a career that included 99 games and 256 points (139 goals), Granato captured ECAC Player of the Year honors in three consecutive years (1991-93), while leading the team to conference titles in 1992 and 1993. 

A 15-year member of the U.S. Women’s National Team beginning in 1990, Granato is the program’s all-time scoring leader with 343 points (186-157) in 205 games. She played for Team USA in the first-ever International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship in 1990 and served as captain of many U.S. squads in international competition throughout her storied career.

In 1992, at just the second IIHF World Women’s Championship, Granato was named the tournament’s top forward after leading all players in the Championship with 10 points (8-2). She played in the World Women’s Championship nine times in her career and helped Team USA to eight silver medals and, in her last World Championship in 2005, the team’s first gold medal in the event.

Granato achieved international fame by captaining Team USA to the gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, the first time women’s ice hockey was included in the Games. There, she had the honor of being chosen as the U.S. flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.

After those Olympics, there was an explosion of female hockey programs in the United States and Granato was launched into the spotlight, making her one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world. Her picture on the Wheaties box, her first book, season broadcasting for the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings, and the annual Cammi Granato Gold Medal Hockey Clinic for Girls all followed. 

From 1998 through 2002, Granato continued to lead Team USA, becoming one of the most potent goal scorers of all time. At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Granato paced the United States in scoring and helped the team capture the silver medal.

In 2007, Granato received the NHL’s Lester Patrick Award in recognition of outstanding service to hockey in the United States, and, in 2008, she was enshrined into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Granato was the first woman to be honored with the aforementioned awards and is the first female to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

2008 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

A nine-time National Hockey League All-Star, Brett Hull recorded 1,391 points and ranks third all-time in NHL history with 741 goals during a career that spanned more than 20 years and included stops with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes.

Hull played junior hockey for the Penticton Knights of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League. In his second year there, he scored 105 goals in 56 games and was offered a scholarship to the University of Minnesota Duluth. He spent two seasons (1984-86) with the Bulldogs and, after tallying 84 points (52-32) as a sophomore, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. No player has scored more goals in a single season since.

In 1984, the Calgary Flames drafted Hull 117th overall, and after his two years in college, he spent the next two seasons splitting his playing time between Calgary and its minor league team in Moncton, N.B. In Moncton, Hull finished third in league scoring and was named the International Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year.

In 1988, the Flames traded Hull to the St. Louis Blues. In his first season, he scored 41 goals and captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. 

The 1989-90 season marked the first of Hull's three consecutive 70-plus goal seasons, which included a career-high 86-goal performance in 1990-91 that earned him the Lester B. Pearson Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP.

After 11 seasons in St. Louis, Hull signed with the Dallas Stars in the summer of 1998. In his first campaign with the Stars, he scored the game-winning goal in the third overtime in game six of the Stanley Cup finals to give Dallas its first-ever Cup title.

Early in the 1999-2000 season, Hull scored his 600th goal, making he and father, Bobby, the first, and to this day only, father-son combination to reach that remarkable plateau. After three seasons in Dallas, Hull signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings prior to 2001-02 season and went on to capture his second Stanley Cup later that spring.

Hull surpassed the 700-goal mark and 1,300-point mark in 2002-03. After three seasons in Detroit, he signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 2004. Following the lock-out season of 2004-05, Hull played five games with Phoenix before announcing his retirement.

On the international side, Hull led the United States to an Olympic silver medal at his second Games in 2002 and topped the tournament in scoring as Team USA captured the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996, the first of his two World Cup appearances. He also participated in the 1991 Canada Cup and made his debut in a Team USA jersey at the 1986 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.

2008 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

In 18 National Hockey League season, Brian Leetch was an 11-time All-Star, won two Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman, captured a Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoff MVP and was the Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie.  He is one of only five blueliners in NHL history to record more than 100 points in a season and one of seven to accumulate more than 1,000 points in his career (247-781-1028).

Leetch attended Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut for two years and it was while playing there that we wowed professional scouts.  Letch was chosen ninth overall by the New York Rangers in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft and played one season (1986-87) of college hockey at Boston College, where he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Upon completion of his freshman year at BC, Leetch left school to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.  Already a veteran of international competition, having played in three International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships (1985-87) and one IIHF Men’s World Championship (1987), Leetch added to his resume when he made the 1988 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and played for Team USA in Calgary.

When the Games ended, Leetch embarked on his career with the Rangers. He scored 23 goals and recorded 48 assists in his first full season in 1989-90, winning the Calder trophy as the league’s most outstanding rookie.  He went on to again represent Team USA at the World Championship that spring.

Two years later, in 1991-92, just after competing for the United States in the 1991 Canada Cup, Leetch had his best NHL season statistically.  He put up 102 points, including a team-record 80 assists, and captured his first Norris Trophy.

In 1993-94, the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in more than 50 years. Leetch led the way as the top scorer in the postseason and was the first ever American-born player to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.

Making his first of two World Cup of Hockey appearances in 1996 Leetch helped lead Team USA one of its most shining moments on the international stage when it beat Canada in back-to-back games in Montreal to overcome and 1-0 series deficit and claim the championship.  The following season (1996-97), he won his second Norris Trophy and was then named captain of the Rangers, a post he held until 2000.

In 1998, Leetch represented his country at the Olympics in Nagao, and in 2002, he was a key player in the United States’ silver-medal performance at the Games in Salt Lake.  He is one of just 10 Americans to have played in at least three Olympics.

Leetch was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the latter stages of the 2003-04 season, thus ending his 17-year career on Broadway.  Following the lock-out season of 2004-05, Leetch signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins in the summer of 2005.  The subsequent season, which would prove to be his last, he recorded his 1,000th career NHL point. 

Leetch officially retired from the NHL on May 24, 2007.

2008 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Mike Richter played in 666 games during a remarkable 14-year National Hockey League career, all with the New York Rangers. His 301 wins are more than any other Rangers goaltender and he helped the club win its first Stanley Cup in over 50 years.

Richter was a standout goaltender at Northwood School in Lake Placid, N.Y. Two weeks after his graduation from prep school, the Rangers selected Richter in the second round of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He then attended the University of Wisconsin for two seasons (1985-87), before leaving school to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

He remained with the U.S. program for the 1987-88 season, and went on to earn a spot on the 1998 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. At the Games in Calgary, he was the starting goaltender in four games. It was his fifth major tournament for Team USA, as he had already competed in two International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships (1985-86), winning a bronze medal in 1986, and two IIHF Men’s World Championships (1986-87).

Richter played the 1988-89 season with the Colorado Rangers in the International Hockey League, but was called up to the Rangers and played one game for New York in the 1989 Stanley Cup playoffs. He split time between the Flint Spirits of the IHL and the Rangers in 1989-90.

Richter joined New York full-time in 1990-91. In his second full year in the league, he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie, and he posted his third consecutive winning season in 1991-92.

His standout performance in the first half of the 1993-94 season earned Richter a chance to play in the 1994 All-Star Game, his first of three such appearances. There, Richter was selected as the MVP. He finished the season with a Rangers’ single-season record 42 wins and helped the team capture the Presidents' Trophy. Continuing with his winning ways in the playoffs, Richter posted four shutouts and won all 16 games as New York earned its first Stanley Cup since 1940.

In 1996, Richter was once again a primary reason for his team's championship run, this time representing the United States at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey, where he was selected as the tournament MVP in leading Team USA to the title.

Richter went on to earn a spot on the 1998 U.S Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and became one of just 10 Americans to have competed in at least three Olympic Games when he was named to the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team that captured the silver medal in Salt Lake City. In addition to his initial World Championship appearances in the late 80s, Richter also played for Team USA at the 1993 IIHF Men’s World Championship and the 1991 Canada Cup.

Richter retired from professional hockey in September of 2003.