Roenick grows emotional at Hall of Fame induction

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Jeremy Roenick just can’t stop himself from being emotional.

First, Roenick teared up on national television after the Chicago Blackhawks, one of his former teams, won the Stanley Cup in June. Now, it’s happening all over again as the player known simply as “J.R.” was preparing to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Shortly after vowing to keep his emotions in check, Roenick’s eyes began to well and his voice cracked when recalling the invite he received to his first USA Hockey camp 25 years ago. And it just so happened that the person who provided that invite, Art Berglund, was being inducted along with Roenick.

“It’s kind of ironic that I’m going in with him now, when he was the first person who ever contacted me,” said Roenick, who became one of the most prolific American-born scorers over his 20-year NHL career. “I can’t believe it’s taken so long for him to go into the Hall because he’s meant so much to USA Hockey. But I’m glad it’s this year.”

Stopping to pause to collect his thoughts, Roenick then added: “That’s probably one of the best parts of tonight. I’m going in with Art Berglund.”

Berglund spent five decades in numerous positions with USA Hockey before retiring in 2005, and still continues to work as a consultant. He was on the staff of more than 30 national teams, including serving as player personnel director for three Olympic teams.

Joining the two in the Class of 2010 are the Hatcher brothers _ Derian and Kevin _ and Dr. George Nagobads, USA Hockey’s longtime former physician. Eventually named USA Hockey’s chief medical officer, Nagobads served as the team doctor on five Olympic teams, including the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” squad that won the gold medal at the Lake Placid Games.

They were inducted at a ceremony at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena, which will host the World Junior Championships this winter.

Roenick, from Boston, is the marquee name among the inductees. He’s a nine-time NHL All-Star, two-time Olympian and seven-time 30-goal-scorer, who played in Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Los Angeles and finally San Jose, before retiring in 2009.

With 513 goals and 703 assists for 1,216 points in 1,363 games, he ranks third in career goals and points among U.S.-born players.

The Hatchers, from suburban Detroit, made names for themselves as defensemen, and for playing two distinct styles.

Kevin was noted for his offense over a 17-year career that began in Washington and ended in 2001 after one season with Carolina. With 677 career points (227 goals and 450 assists), he ranks eighth among American-born defensemen in points, and third in goals.

Derian Hatcher was the far more physical player, and also played more of a leadership role during a 16-year career that ended in 2008, and split between Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia. He finished with 331 points, and most notably became the first American-born captain to win a Stanley Cup in 1999 as a member of the Dallas Stars.

Of course, it was not lost on Derian that the Cup-clinching victory in triple-overtime of Game 6 took place in Buffalo and in the very same arena he was being honored.

“As I was walking in, I said, ‘Every time we come back in here, you always had that feeling of excitement’,” Hatcher said, before pointing to the Stanley Cup ring he was wearing. “That’s the first time I’ve worn it in probably two years so yeah, the last couple of days I’ve thought about it a lot.”

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