Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Before his illustrious career in the National Hockey League, Brett Hull played two seasons at UMD, basically re-writing the Bulldogs' record book while he was there.

Yes, Hull will be remembered primarily for his 741 career NHL goals, trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe on the all-time list.

Before any NHL team did it, UMD retired Hull's jersey in front of a capacity crowd at the DECC.

Now, Hull joins his father, Bobby, and other all-time greats, as he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto later this year.

Here is the official release from the Hall.
TORONTO (June 23, 2009) — Bill Hay, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Board of Directors and Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn, Co-Chairmen of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Selection Committee, announced today that Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Player Category and Lou Lamoriello has been elected in the Builder Category. The vote took place today at the annual meeting of the Selection Committee in Toronto.

"The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these five hockey legends as Honoured Members," said Jim Gregory. "Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved."

A native of Belleville, Ontario, Brett Hull played college hockey for two seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before embarking on a professional career in 1986. Hull played 19 NHL seasons, earning First Team All-Star selection on three occasions and winning Stanley Cups with Detroit and Dallas. Along with his father Bobby, the duo is the only NHL father and son to each record 600 goals and 1,000 career points.

"It is hard to put into words what this means to me, especially since I'm joining my father in the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Hull. "Simply getting to the NHL was a challenge for me, and I would like to thank all of my supporters who made many sacrifices on my behalf."

Brian Leetch played his collegiate hockey at Boston College and was drafted in the first round (9th overall) in 1986. He turned pro with the Rangers in 1987 and went on to play 18 NHL seasons, winning the James Norris trophy twice. Leetch was a key member of the Rangers' 1993-94 Stanley Cup-winning team and became the first U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's playoff MVP.

"I am humbled and excited by this honour, particularly since for me it is difficult to think of myself as a member of the Hall of Fame," said Leetch. "My hockey career has been a long and enjoyable process. I am appreciative of all those who have helped me. From my father, as my youth coach, to Mark Messier who helped me out so much - both on and off the ice surface."

Luc Robitaille played his Junior hockey in Hull, Quebec under the tutelage of Pat Burns. A late selection (9th round) of the Los Angeles Kings in 1984, he went on to win the Calder Trophy in his rookie season in 1986-87. He played 19 NHL seasons, ranking 10th amongst NHLers all time in scoring. His eight 40+-goal seasons are surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.

"My goal was always just to play in the NHL and I never dreamed of anything beyond that," said Robitaille. "To be honoured in the same room as The Rocket, Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky is a tremendous honour."

Steve Yzerman was selected 4th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1983 Entry Draft and went on to play 22 seasons for the Wings. The longest-serving team captain in Red Wings history (1986 to 2006), Yzerman holds numerous team records, led the team to three Stanley Cups and was a member of Canada's gold-medal winning Olympic team in 2002.

"It is a tremendous honour to receive this news," said Steve Yzerman. "I want to thank the Selection Committee for recognizing my contributions — I truly had chills down my spine when I got the news."

In the Builder Category, long-time New Jersey Devils General Manager, Lou Lamoriello was honoured for his over 40 years of contributions to the game — both at the collegiate and NHL levels. Under his leadership the Devils have won three Stanley Cups: in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

"This award is completely unexpected," said Lamoriello. "Over my career I have been fortunate to have been associated with great players and coaches, and this award recognizes their contributions to my career."

The 2009 Induction Celebration will be held on Monday, November 9th at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a museum and place of entertainment offering state-of-the-art multimedia presentations and exhibits from its premises at Brookfield Place, Toronto, Canada. Its mandate is to recognize and honour the achievements of individuals who bring special distinction to the game of hockey, and to collect and preserve objects, images and resource materials connected with the game as it is played in Canada and throughout the world.
Brett and Bobby will be the first father-son tandem to have both gained Hall enshrinement.

It's also worth noting that both Brett Hull and Brian Leetch turned pro after playing college hockey. While I refuse to say that college hockey is the only way to make yourself into a successful player at the next level (that would be taking my obvious biases too far and crossing over into complete stupidity), it's nice to know that the college game is capable of churning out all-time greats.

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