The United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced today four new inductees: Paul Coppo (Hancock, Mich.); Phil Housley (South St. Paul, Minn.); Mike Ilitch (Detroit); and Mark Johnson (Minneapolis). The Hall will formally induct all four men into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn., on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004 at RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn.
Johnson, already in the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 1980 Gold Medal Olympic Team, played collegiate hockey at Wisconsin under his father, Bob, and led the Badgers to the 1977 national championship during his freshman season. As a forward and the first Badger to ever win WCHA Rookie of the Year honors, he went on to become the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 256 points on a school-record 125 goals and 131 assists in just three seasons. Johnson was the 1978-79 WCHA MVP and a two-time first team All-WCHA pick and a two-time All-American.
Johnson went on to represent the U.S. at the 1980 Olympics, where the team won gold medal. Johnson compiled 11 points during the tournament, including two goals in the “Miracle On Ice” against the former Soviet Union and an assist on the game-winning goal against Finland in the final contest.
Following his Olympic experience, Johnson embarked on a successful 11-year NHL career. Over his 669 career NHL contests, the forward collected 203 goals, 305 assists and 508 points, highlighted by his 87-point season as captain of Hartford in 1983-84.
Johnson is currently the head women’s coach at Wisconsin, after serving a number of years as men’s assistant under Jeff Sauer. Johnson served as an assistant coach with the 2000 and 2002 U.S. World Championship teams.
Coppo played collegiate hockey at Michigan Tech from 1956-60. He led the team in scoring during his junior and senior years, and ended his career with 134 points on 59 goals and 75 assists. During the 1958-59 season, he played center on a line that scored a school-record 60 goals, and his 31 assists for the year tied a Huskies record at the time. Coppo received All-America honorable mention recognition as a junior in 1959.
The following year, he helped lead the Huskies into the NCAA finals, achieving all-tournament honors, and was named a First Team All-American. Coppo was the leading scorer for the 1962 U.S. Men’s National Team that won the bronze medal with a 5-2-0 record in Colorado Springs, Colo. He competed and led his team in scoring in the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria as the U.S. placed fifth.
Coppo served as a youth hockey coach in DePere, Wis. for over a decade.
Housley made the leap from South St. Paul High School to the professional ranks at age 18. During his senior season at South St. Paul, he registered 65 points (31-34) in 22 games. Housley was selected in the first round, sixth overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 National Hockey League Entry Draft. After 1,495 regular-season games played, the most by any American, Housley is the top scoring U.S.-born and developed player, with 1,232 points (338-894).
Housley began his NHL career with Buffalo in 1982, where he compiled 558 points (178-380) in 608 games. In his rookie season he was tied for fourth in goals (19) and ranked fourth in points (66) by a rookie defenseman. Housley played for eight different NHL teams in his 21-year career: the Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and finished with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2003.
Housley was a seven-time member of the United States Men’s National Team (1982, 1986, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2003), as well as a member of the U.S. 2002 Olympic Men’s Team that competed in Salt Lake City, Utah. He helped Team USA to a 4-1-1 record and the silver medal. Housley recorded five points (1-4) in six games, and registered the game-winning goal in the semifinal round in a 3-2 victory over Russia.
For Ilitch, the sport of hockey has been an integral part of his life for more than three decades. Through his involvement in his Little Caesars Pizza business that Ilitch built from the ground up, as well as amateur and professional sports, Ilitch has sponsored amateur teams since 1968. His Little Caesars AAA Hockey program is one of the most recognized and respected organizations in amateur hockey, and in the past 37 years, more than 200,000 youngsters have participated in the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey Club.
Currently, 27 alumni of the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club are playing or have played in the National Hockey League including current Detroit Red Wing, Derian Hatcher. Additionally, more than 240 other former Little Caesars players have established careers in collegiate hockey or other hockey leagues.
Ilitch and his wife, Marian, purchased the Detroit Red Wings franchise from the Norris family in 1982. Under Ilitch’s direction, the Red Wings have developed into one of professional sports’ premier franchises, winning 10 Division Championships, four Western Conference Championships, four Presidents’ Trophies and three Stanley Cup titles. The Red Wings have a current streak of 367 consecutive sellouts at Joe Louis Arena and were recently voted the No. 1 franchise in the NHL and No. 8 in all of professional sports by ESPN Magazine. That same issue honored Mike as the No. 1 owner in all of professional sports.
Ilitch has been honored as the recipient of the 1991 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States and inducted to both the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2003 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Tickets for the Dinner are $100 per person, $50 for students 18 and under and $800 for a table of 8 people. Tickets can be obtained by calling the United States Hockey Hall of Fame at 1-800-HHF-PUCK or 1-800-443-7825.