The United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced on Monday, that the 1996 World Cup Team, Craig Janney and Bill Belisle will represent the 2016 Class.
The 1996 World Cup team, helped to raise the bar for USA Hockey and inspire a new generation of US born players for the sport. 15 players from that squad have been enshrined into the US Hockey Hall of Fame, over the past few years as well.
General manager Lou Lamoriello and Associate Coach John Cunniff, have also been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The 1996 tournament featured the United States facing off against Canada in the best of three final round, 20 years ago.
Game one of that championship series went to Canada, as current Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman, scored in overtime to take the opener in the Wells Fargo Center (known then, as the CoreStates Center), in Philadelphia.
As the series shifted to Montreal, Team USA stunned the fans, winning games two and three by a score of 5-2. USA netminder and former New York Ranger goalie, Mike Richter, put up a 35-save game three performance, as the Red, White and Blue rallied from down 2-1 in the third to bounce back and win the tournament.
Richter, was inducted into the US Hall of Fame in 2008. 2011 Inductee, Keith Tkachuk said, “The 1996 World Cup team was probably the best team I have ever played on. What an experience it was, to be down in a best of three series, go up to Montreal and putting USA back on the map.”
In the final game, 2008 Inductee, Brett Hull, tipped in the tying goal with just over three minutes to play, as 2009 Inductee, Tony Amonte, found the back of the net with the eventual game winner 43 seconds later.
Amonte said, “It was the pinnacle of my career, being able to win that game in Montreal, in Canada’s backyard with all of the hype surrounding that tournament. It was a really unbelievable experience. I watched the Canada Cup a few years before, and I dreamt about playing in it, so it was great to be on a team with all of those guys.”
In talking about the commitment the 1996 USA squad had for each other, Lamoriello said, “Going back to that World Cup, that was a special time because we put together a bunch of players, then brought them to Providence College and had a training camp there and were together for several weeks.”
During his 2012 induction speech, Lamoriello said, “I can still remember the meeting that we had. To have success we were going to have to make a commitment, and no one is expecting anything but if we did the things that had to be done.”
He had added, in that same speech, “In that coaching staff at that time was, [head coach] Ron Wilson, Paul Holmgren and Cunniff, their commitment was there and there were a lot of things that transpired throughout that tournament. Brian Leetch was the captain.”
Janney, was selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round, 13th overall of the 1986 National Hockey League Draft. The Hartford, Connecticut native, played 760 games in the NHL between the Bruins, Lightning, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, and the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes over 12 seasons.
He was able to tally 188 goals and 563 assists. During the 1986 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, he led the United States to a bronze medal.
He also represented Team USA during the 1987 and 1994 World Championships, 1988 Calgary Olympics as well as the 1991 Canada Cup.
Before playing collegiately, two seasons, for Boston College, he played for Enfield High School in Connecticut and the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. The 1986-1987 Hobey Baker Award finalist, put up 39 goals and 69 assists in 71 games, for the BC Eagles.
Belisle, 86, is the most successful high school coach in the nation. The coach of Mount St. Charles Academy, in Rhode Island, has won 32 state championships, including 26 straight from 1978 to 2003, over 41 years.
The 1948 Mount St. Charles graduate, has coach 20 players that have been drafted by NHL teams. Some of those players include, former NHL goaltender Brian Boucher, defenseman Keith Carney, forward Brian Lawton as well as Islanders general manager Garth Snow.
The date as well as the location of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be announced by the US Hockey Hall of Fame at a later date.