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Blittner’s Blue Line: The 2024 NYS Hockey Hall of Fame Class

Welcome to The Hall of Fame. No, not THAT Hall of Fame. Welcome to The New York State Hockey Hall of Fame!

The hockey scene in New York is so great that it has its own Hall of Fame. Why? Well, New York is New York. New York is where legends are made. It’s where athletes, coaches, broadcasters, writers, executives, etc. go to become not just stars but to become part of forever. If you win in New York, you are set for life. As the Frank Sinatra song goes, “if I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere.”

Back in 2022, Rene LeRoux – the Executive Director of both The New York State Baseball Hall of Fame and The New York State Basketball Hall of Fame – decided to found a third Hall of Fame, this one for hockey. 

There were over a dozen people inducted into that inaugural class. Names such as Butch Goring, Pat LaFontaine, Bob Nystrom, Jack O’Callahan, Mark Wells, Lou Vairo, Clark Gillies, and Lou Lamoriello headlined the list of inductees. Some were born in New York, others spent portions of their careers in New York and some had other ties to the state. 

In 2023, The Hall welcomed its second class. People such as Stan Fischler, Craig Conroy, John Tonelli and Barry Melrose headlined the roughly dozen inductees who were honored last summer. 

Now, it’s 2024 and the third-ever class of The Hall is set. 

Sam Rosen, Denis Potvin, Ed Westfall, Howard Dolgon, Ken Morrow, and Mike Eruzione are headlining the class. Bill Beaney, Courtney Burke, Scott Montagna, Frank Colabufo, Lindsay Lasala, Don Kirnan, Steve Warr, and Mark Taylor will round out the list of inductees. 

On Saturday, July 13, 2024, this group of honorees, as well as the entire New York State Hockey Hall of Fame family and fans of the game of hockey, will gather at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, New York, for a banquet and speeches that will be sure to have spectators laughing, crying and reminiscing about their favorite hockey memories. 

After all, nobody will ever forget Rosen’s “and this one will last a lifetime,” call when the Rangers won The Stanley Cup in 1994. Nor will they ever forget Morrow and Eruzione leading Team USA to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1980. You know, the one that inspired Al Michaels to proclaim, “do you believe in miracles? YES!” And let’s not forget about Westfall’s game-winning goal in Game Seven of the 1975 Quarter-Finals that completed the Islanders’ comeback from a 3-0 series deficit to knock out the Penguins and advance to the Semi-Finals for the first time in franchise history. 

Obviously, we can go on and on regaling you with the stories these inductees are responsible for, but let’s leave something for them to discuss in their speeches. And for those of you who can’t be their in-person, LeRoux has you covered. All of the speeches will be available to watch on YouTube, as well as his personal social media accounts, so make sure you earmark a couple of hours of your summer to catch up on the stories the inductees share. 

For more information you can visit their website:

In other news, across the river in New Jersey, the Devils are set to introduce their new Head Coach, Sheldon Keefe, who they’ve signed to a four-year deal. Keefe spent the last four-and-a-half seasons as the Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and guided them to 100+ points in the last three. And while The Leafs made the playoffs every year with Keefe at the helm, only once did they make it out of the first round; in 2023.

Keefe’s inability to get his team over the hump is what ultimately cost him his job. Now the question is whether or not he can get the Devils over their hump. Much like Toronto, New Jersey has a highly skilled forward group, a solid, but rarely physical defense corps, and shaky goaltending. It will be up to GM Tom Fitzgerald to improve the roster, but it will be Keefe’s job to maximize the roster’s potential. 

Lastly, whichever team wins the Stanley Cup this year will end a lengthy drought. Dallas last won it all in 1999. New York last raised The Cup in 1994 and Edmonton has been waiting since 1990. Meanwhile, Florida has never won the Cup. So, regardless of who wins, their fans will be partying like there’s no tomorrow. 

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