USA Hockey Magazine

November 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 55

05 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM NOVEMBER. 2015 E mile Francis has been out of hockey for more than two decades but his impact on the game is still felt today. Through his efforts at both the NHL and the grassroots level, Francis opened doors for thousands of youth hockey players in places like New York, St. Louis and Hartford, Conn. For all he's done in the game, the man they called "The Cat" will receive the Wayne Gretzky International Award as part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Dec. 17 in Boston. The award, established in 1999, pays tribute to international individuals who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States. Francis, who served as the coach and general manager of the N.Y. Rangers for 10 seasons, still holds franchise records for games coached (654), victories (342), win- ning percentage (.602), playoff games coached (75) and playoff wins (34). In 1976, he joined the St. Louis Blues and eventually served as executive vice president, general manager and coach. After seven campaigns in St. Louis, he became general manager of the Hartford Whalers, where he ended his career as president of the organization in 1993. Francis is credited with founding the Metropolitan Junior Hockey Association, currently the longest operating Junior hockey league in the country, and the St. Louis Metro Junior B League. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1982 for his outstanding contributions to hockey in the United States, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that same year. "Emile Francis is the finest man that I've ever met in the game of hockey," said Lou Vairo, USA Hockey's Director of Special Projects, who first met Francis in 1965 when he was starting the Greater New York City Hockey League. "He has always been a great competitor, an outstanding administrator and coach and, through his own initiative, made it possible for so many kids to play the game. Hockey wouldn't be the same without him." Bruce Bennett, the dean of hockey photographers, has been capturing the action on the ice for more than 40 years. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including USA Hockey Magazine. Recently, Bennett whittled down his archive of more than two million images to come up with 250 of his best photos for a new collection entitled Hockey's Greatest Photos: The Bruce Bennett Collection. Released just in time for the holidays, Bennett's best capture the speed, action, intensity and camaraderie that make hockey the greatest game on ice. Whether it's shooting from ice level or from high above the arena floor, nobody captures the spirit of the game like Bruce Bennett. Hockey's Greatest Photos: The Bruce Bennett Collection, is available now at Barnes & Noble as well as Bennett's Best Come To Life In New Book 'THE CAT'S' CONTRIBUTIONS NET HIM 2015 GRETZKY AWARD U.S. Looks To Tap Into Tortorella's Fiery Nature At World Cup John Tortorella has earned a reputation as a fiery leader and a fierce competitor over the course of his NHL coaching career. That's what Dean Lombardi admires most about the man he selected to coach Team USA for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Lombardi, who will serve as the team's general manager, listed Tortorella's passion for the game and his loyalty to his players as some of the main attributes he was looking for when selecting a coach. It's something that will serve his troops well in the short tournament that will be held Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto. "He has an incredible amount of honest passion," Lombardi said after the Sept. 21 announcement. "There's no phony here. He's an American, through and through." That's apparent based on Tortorella's experience coaching U.S. teams over the years. The World Cup will mark the fifth time he's stood behind the American bench. His most recent stint comes this month at the Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany. The Boston native also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team that earned a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and was the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2008 World Championship. "There's no greater honor than to represent your country and I'm humbled to have this opportunity," Tortorella said. "We'll have one objective and that will be to bring the World Cup championship back to the United States." On the NHL front, Tortorella most recently served as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks for the 2013-14 season after spending five seasons leading the New York Rangers. He was also the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for seven seasons, guiding the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of USA Hockey Magazine - November 2015