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Emrick named to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Joins Chris Chelios, Ed Snider, Gary Suter, Keith Tkachuk in Class of 2011

Monday, 08.1.2011 / 2:30 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - Staff Writer
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Emrick named to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
Emrick's list of past honors includes both the Lester Patrick Award and Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. GETTY IMAGES
Three of the greatest U.S.-born players to ever lace on skates, an icon in the sports and entertainment business and one of the most recognized broadcasters in the history of the game headline this year's list of inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

The honorees, announced Monday during a media teleconference by USA Hockey, include defensemen Chris Chelios and Gary Suter, forward Keith Tkachuk, Philadelphia Flyers founder and owner Ed Snider and broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick, who turned 65 Monday. The 39th U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony will be held in Chicago on a date to be determined.

Chelios and Suter combined for 43 seasons along NHL blue lines. Chelios played a record-tying 26 seasons -- six with the Montreal Canadiens, nine with the Chicago Blackhawks and 10 with the Detroit Red Wings before closing his career with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009-10 at the age of 48. He retired as the oldest U.S.-born hockey player ever and the second oldest in NHL history behind former Detroit legend Gordie Howe (52). Chelios currently works as the executive advisor to Detroit GM Ken Holland.

"I wanted to leave the game when I felt like there was nothing left in the tank," Chelios told reporters at his retirement announcement Aug. 31, 2010. "I think I pretty much accomplished that. I have no regrets."

A three-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time Norris Trophy winner, Chelios scored 185 goals and 948 points and accrued 2,891 penalty minutes in 1,651 regular-season games. His 266 games played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the most in NHL history. The Chicago native also played in four Olympics (1984, 1998, 2002, 2006) and represented the U.S. in three Canada Cups (1984, 1987, 1991), the World Cup of Hockey (1996, 2004) and the World Junior Championship (1982).

Suter burst upon the NHL scene in 1985-86 after two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. The native of Madison, Wis., earned the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie after producing 18 goals and 68 points in 80 games with the Flames during the 1985-86 season. The four-time All-Star also helped lead the Flames to a Stanley Cup in 1989. Throughout his 17-year NHL career, Suter played in 1,145 games and finished with 845 points. He also teamed with Chelios and Tkachuk in Team USA's silver medal-winning effort at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He spent four-plus seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and four seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

His impressive international career included the 1998 Olympics, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, two Canada Cups, two World Championships and one World Junior Championship. Suter's brother, Bob, was a member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team that won gold at the 1980 Olympics, and his nephew, Ryan, is a star defenseman for the Nashville Predators.

Tkachuk played 19 seasons in the League with four teams, totaling 1,200 regular-season games and 538 goals. He's one of only four U.S.-born players to notch 500-plus goals, joining Mike Modano, Jeremy Roenick and Joe Mullen. The five-time All-Star also had 525 assists, 1,063 points and 2,219 penalty minutes. During the 1996-97 season with the Phoenix Coyotes, he became the first U.S.-born player to lead the NHL in goals (52) and was the fourth player in NHL history to record at least 50 goals and 200 penalty minutes in a single season.

Television analyst Ed Olczyk, who played with Tkachuk for three seasons in Winnipeg, said he'll never forget the determination with which his former teammate played the game.

"He came in raw (in 1991-92) and just evolved into a great player," Olczyk said. "He was the prototypical power forward. He could score. He could hit. He wasn't afraid to run you into the ditch. He was a great pro. He's one of the greatest American-born players to play the game."

Tkachuk, who played collegiately at Boston University, twice represented the U.S. at the World Junior Championship in 1991 and '92, collecting 9 goals and 16 points in 14 games. The Melrose, Mass., native played for the U.S. in four Olympics (1992, 1998, 2002, 2006) and two World Championships (1996, 2004).

Snider, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, enters the U.S. Hall of Fame in the builder's category. He was the driving force behind NHL hockey coming to Philadelphia in 1967 and the construction of the Spectrum and the Flyers' current home, the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers were the first of the original expansion teams to claim the Stanley Cup, in 1974, and the team would win another the following season. In 1980, he was presented the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to hockey in the United States, and five years later he was elected to the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He also has been recognized by the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the Flyers Hall of Fame.

Snider also is the creator of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, which offers underprivileged children in the Philadelphia area an opportunity to learn the game at local rinks. In 1999, the Philadelphia Daily News selected him as Philadelphia's greatest "mover and shaker" of the millennium. The current chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the Flyers' parent company, was born in Washington, D.C.

Emrick, a native of LaFontaine, Ind., was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008. He spent more than two decades with MSG and the New Jersey Devils before announcing he'd work exclusively for NBC Sports and Versus on July 21.

Nicknamed "Doc," which he acquired after receiving a doctorate in radio/television/film from Bowling Green State University in 1976, received the Lester Patrick Award in 2004, and in 2008 earned the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his contributions to hockey broadcasting. He's also won many regional awards, including the 1997 National CableACE Award for best play-by-play and the 1997 and 2004 New York Emmy awards for his Devils telecasts.

During his time as Devils announcer (1983-86, 1993-2011), the team won three Stanley Cups. Due to his national network obligations, he called 59 games last season with the Devils, and felt the time was now to reduce the workload.

"At one point in March, I did eight games in 10 days, all in different cities, and they were all spread out enough that I had to fly to each one of them," Emrick told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. "By the eighth game, I probably wasn't doing the job I was doing on the first of the eight."

He also has broadcast hockey at five Olympics. Showing his skill and versatility, he branched out to broadcast women's ice hockey at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, and even did water polo at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Emrick was there when Devils goalie Martin Brodeur established the NHL record for career wins, in New Jersey on March 17, 2009, and set the standard for career shutouts in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21, 2009. When asked Emrick to recall the finest save he witnessed Brodeur make, he was more than happy to oblige.

"It was Nov. 6, 1996, Joe Louis Arena in Detroit," Emrick said. "He was on his way to his 13th shutout … 2-0 … third period … power play. Marty had to go out there to make a stop at the edge of the crease. The puck came through the middle of the ice … across the blue line … to (Sergei) Fedorov, who sent a rocket shot. Marty dove, parallel to the ice, outstretched his arm with his stick and he got his paddle on the shot. I don't know how he ever did it. That, to me, is the greatest save I ever saw him make."

Brodeur earned a 2-0 shutout over the Red Wings that night.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale