Granato among first women in International Ice Hockey hall

Updated: December 20, 2007, 5:54 PM ET
Associated Press

QUEBEC CITY -- The International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame is not just for men any more.

Cammi Granato
AP PhotoCammi Granato had an international playing career that few can rival.

Former U.S. Olympic hockey star Cammi Granato will break the gender barrier in the players' category, along with Geraldine Heaney and Angela James, when she is inducted into the international hockey shrine in May.

Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Philippe Bozon of France and Art Berglund, the Canadian-born manager of U.S. national teams for many years, also will be enshrined.

"I am immensely happy that we have reached the phase in hockey history when we rightfully can induct women to the player's category," International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said in a statement. "This was a very important decision in the history of the IIHF and it feels very good that this coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF."

Granato, 36, began playing hockey with her siblings, including big brother Tony who went on to an NHL career. She became the most well-known female hockey player in the United States, playing in every IIHF world women's championships and Olympics from the start in 1990 until 2005, when she led the U.S. to its first world title.

As captain, she led the U.S. to gold in 1998 when women's hockey was an official Olympic sport for the first time. She was honored with the NHL's Lester Patrick Award in 2007 for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

The IIHF Hall of Fame was introduced in 1997 and now has 150 inductees from 22 countries.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press