The 1996 United States World Cup of Hockey Team headlines the list of inductees in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, USA Hockey announced on Monday. Other inductees include former NHL star Craig Janney and legendary hockey coach Norman “Bill” Belisle.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 8, 2016
The 1996 U.S. World Cup of Hockey Team
Team USA’s performance at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey tournament in 1996 is considered to be a defining point in American hockey history- second only to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team’s Miracle on Ice victory. Led by head coach Ron Wilson, Team USA captured the World Cup of Hockey after posting a 6-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record in the tournament.
After going undefeated during three games in the North American Pool of the tournament, Team USA defeated Team Russia in the semifinals before moving on to play Team Canada in the best-of-three series.
Team USA dropped the first game 4-3, before posting back-to-back 5-2 victories to capture the World Cup. During the third period of the decisive Game 3, Team USA overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring four goals in the final 3:18 of play to beat the Canadian team led by Wayne Gretzky. Team USA forward Brett Hull led the tournament with seven goals and 11 points and starting goaltender Mike Richter was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The team included 16 members who have already been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Craig Janney, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, was drafted 13th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft after playing two seasons at Boston College. He would go on to be one of the league’s premier playmakers during 12 NHL seasons. In 760 career regular season games, Janney tallied 563 assists and 751 points, while adding 110 points in 120 playoff games.
Janney is among the statistical leaders for American-born NHL players and currently ranks first in assists per game (0.741) and fourth in points per game (0.988), and is 11th all-time in assists.
The talented center represented the United States at the international level six times during his playing career. Most notably, Janney was part of Team USA’s 1991 Canada Cup Team that made it to the finals and the United States’ 1986 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship- the team that captured the country’s first ever medal (bronze) at the tournament.
Bill Belisle, a native of Manville, Rhode Island, has been the head coach of the well-known Mount Saint Charles Academy (Woonsocket, RI) since 1975. Behind the bench for the Mounties, Belisle has won 990 games and 32 state titles championships, including 26 straight from 1978 to 2003.
As head coach of the Mounties, more than 20 former players have been drafted by NHL teams. The program has produced two American-born 1st overall selections- Brian Lawton (1983) and Bryan Berard (1995). Lawton was the first ever American-born player to ever be selected first overall.
Belisle is an alumnus of Mount Saint Charles (1948) and played on the school’s state championship team in 1947. He became a member of the program’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
In 41 years as head coach of the Mounties, Belisle has a 990-183-37 record.
The date and location for the formal inductions into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the presentation of the Lester Patrick Trophy will be announced later this month.
Steven is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the game of hockey. He’s the Lead Writer covering the Tampa Bay Lightning with THW. He’s also been press credentialed through the Lightning since 2016. His work has been published at The Fourth Period, LightningInsider.com, Bolt Prospects, The Sports Daily Network, U.S. College Hockey Online and College Hockey News. He’s had radio appearances on TSN 690 in Montreal, Lightning Power Play Live and multiple podcasts to give insight and analysis on the team. He can be reached on Twitter @StevenDiOssi and by email at email@example.com.