Mark Johnson, Ilitch, Coppo round out list
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame announced its four 2004 inductees Sunday: stalwart offensive defenseman Phil Housley; 1980 Olympic star and coach Mark Johnson; NHL owner and amateur hockey supporter Mike Ilitch; and college and USHL star Paul Coppo.
The four men will be inducted into the hall Oct. 7 in St. Paul, Minn.
"This year's class of inductees truly represents a broad spectrum of hockey in the United States, including ownership and players from amateur, college, Olympic, U.S. National and professional ranks," James Findley, president of the the hall's board of directors, said in a statement. "We are proud to induct them and welcome them as the Class of 2004."
Housley, who is 40 and lives in Lakeland, Minn., leaped straight from South St. Paul (Minn.) High School to the pros, getting picked in the first round by the Buffalo Sabres in 1982.
He retired in January as the top-scoring U.S. born and developed player, with 1,232 points (338 goals, 894 assists) in 1,495 NHL games. He ranks fourth all-time in goals by a defenseman and fifth in assists, as well as 16th all-time in assists among players at any position.
Housley wore the USA sweater in the IIHF world championships, with the national team and at the 2002 Olympics, scoring five points in six games -- including the semifinal game-winner -- as the Americans won silver. He also played on the U.S. championship team at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and was an assistant coach for the Under-18 team in 2003.
He was awarded USA Hockey's 2000 Bob Johnson award for excellence in international competition.
Johnson, 46, was born in Minneapolis, raised in Madison, Wis., and lives in Verona, Wis.
As a freshman at Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to the 1977 national championship, and he is the school's second-leading scorer with 256 points (125 goals, 131 assists) despite playing just three seasons.
Johnson represented USA Hockey in 13 international events and perhaps is known best for scoring two goals against the Soviet Union during the Americans' run to the 1980 gold medal at Lake Placid. He led the team with 11 points during the games.
The forward went on to a successful 11-year stint in the NHL (203 goals, 305 assists, 669 games) before turning to coaching. He was an assistant for the 2000 World Championship and the 2002 IIHF World Championship and was an assistant men's coach at Wisconsin from 1996 to 2002 before becoming the head women's coach for the Badgers.
In 2004, Johnson received the Vince Lombardi "Award of Excellence."
Ilitch, a 75-year-old Detroit native, has sponsored amateur hockey teams since 1968 through his Little Caesars Pizza business.
More than 200,000 youngsters have gone through the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey Club. Twenty-seven current or former NHL players are alumni of the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club, including Detroit Red Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher.
In addition, Ilitch and his wife, Marion, bought the Red Wings when the team was at a low point and developed them into one of sports' premier franchises. In addition to their three Stanley Cup titles in short succession (1997, 1998 and 2002), the Wings have a sellout streak of 367 games at Joe Louis arena and were named the No. 1 NHL franchise -- and the No. 8 in all of pro sports -- by ESPN The Magazine in 2003. Ilitch also was honored as the No. 1 owner in professional sports.
Ilitch, who still lives in the Detroit area, has received presidential citations from Reagan, Bush and Clinton; the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States; and induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Coppo, who is 65 and from Hancock, Mich., was one of the top American-born centers of his generation. He led Michigan Tech in scoring his junior and senior years and amassed 59 goals and 75 assists there 1956-60.
He helped the Huskies reach the NCAA finals in 1960, garnering All-American honors, and was penalized just six times in 85 collegiate games.
Coppo led the U.S. men's national team in scoring as the Americans won bronze in 1962 and again led the charge in 1964, when the U.S. placed fifth. He also played in three IIHF World Championships and played for 15 years -- including four years as a player/coach -- for USHL Green Bay. He was the team's all-time leading scorer with 559 points (231, 238).
Coppo lives in DePere, Wis., and served as a youth hockey coach there for more than a decade.
The hall is in Eveleth, which is in northern Minnesota.