COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Longtime high school coach Bill Belisle, forward Craig Janney and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey team are this year’s inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The class was announced by USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean on the NHL Network on Monday night.
The 86-year-old Belisle has won 32 state championships in 41 seasons at Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, with a record of 990-183-137. Among his players were two No. 1 overall NHL draft picks, Brian Lawton in 1993 and Bryan Berard in 1995, and more than 20 of his players have been drafted, including 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall inductee Mathieu Schneider.
Janney is the leader in assists per game among U.S.-born players and was one of the top playmakers of his era. He had 563 assists and 751 points in 760 games.
“This is a guy who just doesn’t get into enough of the conversations of the best players of the last 25 years,” Ogrean said. “He came just a whisker away from averaging one point a game.”
Janney played 12 years in the NHL after being selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round, 13th overall, of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft.
Among American-born skaters in the NHL, Janney ranks fourth in points per game (0.988) while his 563 assists are 11th all-time. In 760 career NHL games, the Hartford, Connecticut, native had 188 goals while playing for seven teams (Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders).
During his time in Boston, Janney helped the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup finals in both 1988 and 1990. Prior to the NHL, Janney skated two seasons with the Boston College men’s ice hockey program. In his second campaign (1986-87), the Deerfield Academy (Conn.) product was a Hobey Baker Finalist after setting Hockey East Association single-season records in points (74) and assists (51). In total that season (1986-87), Janney recorded 81 points (26-55) in 37 games played.
The 1996 World Cup of Hockey team was chosen on the 20th anniversary of its title in the inaugural event. Brett Hull had seven goals and 11 points to lead a team that also featured Keith Tkachuk, Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios and Mike Modano.
The team, coached by Ron Wilson, was 6-0-1 and outscored its opponents 37-18, including consecutive 5-2 victories over Canada in Montreal for the title. Goalie Mike Richter was the tournament MVP.
“I know there’s a lot of folks who really feel this was a breakthrough team for the U.S.,” Ogrean said. “It wasn’t an accident, it was not a miracle. They made a statement that we had arrived on equal footing.”
Sixteen members of that team have been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall.