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Three Reds Greats Elected to Charter Class of new RI Hockey Hall of Fame
Providence, RI (3/4/2018): The new Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame has announced the names of 16 Rhode Island hockey greats, including three from the legendary RI Reds, who will be enshrined in its charter class on September 20th at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln.
The names and official portraits of the inductees were unveiled March 4th between periods of the AHL game between the P-Bruins and Springfield at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence.
Typically, Hall of Fame classes are highlighted by a select few who stand out. However, as RI Hockey Hall of Fame chairman, Vincent Cimini, rightly points out, “Each deserves the spotlight. This is the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of Rhode Island hockey.
“Our charter class is comprised of 11 who have represented the USA in World Championships, including 8 in the Olympics,” proudly noted Cimini, who is also a Reds Heritage Society director. “Ten have previously been enshrined in the International, USA and AHL Hockey Halls of Fame. Three have their names engraved on the NHL’s Stanley Cup and many have set records that still stand in the sport. Most of all, as players and as pillars of the game, they each represent the very best of our state’s rich and illustrious hockey heritage, three of whom are Reds legends.”
Harvey Bennett, Sr.: Bennett tended goal for two RI Reds Calder Cup champions and three in total over a 13-year Hall of Fame AHL career. He saw five sons play in the pros, including fellow inductee, Curt, and sons Harvey, Jr. and Bill, who reached the NHL.
Louis A. R. Pieri: Pieri was a 3-sport star at Brown, beloved General Manager and then owner of both the Reds, RI’s first professional hockey team, and the RI Auditorium, the birthplace of professional hockey in RI. His teams captured 3 Canadian-American League Fontaine Cup and 4 AHL Calder Cup championships. Inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2009. The Louis A.R. Pieri Award is presented annually to the AHL’s Coach of the Year.
Zellio Toppazzini: A 2012 inductee into the AHL Hall of Fame, “Topper” is considered the greatest RI Reds player of all time. Named their “Player of the Century” in 2000. Played 4 NHL and 12 historic AHL seasons with the Reds, becoming the team’s all-time leader in all statistical scoring categories. Led his 1955-56 squad, voted greatest team in minor league hockey history, to the Calder Cup with a league-leading 113 points.
Other charter class inductees, in alphabetical order, are: Bill Belisle, Curt Bennett, Bryan Berard, Keith Carney, Joe Cavanagh, Sara DeCosta-Hayes, Cammi Granato, Brian Lawton, Lou Lamoriello, Dick Rondeau, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Terreri, and Ron Wilson. Complete bios on all inductees are posted on the RI Hockey Hall of Fame’s website - www.RIHHOF.com.
Cimini noted that the 16 inductees were elected from a list of 40 nominees culled from a pool of over 175 qualified candidates, which the Hall diligently researched and profiled over the past 18 months.
“All 40 had the credentials to be in the charter class,” he declared. “However, we realistically had to put a limit on the class. We truly believe the committee got it right. Those who narrowly missed out this year, will soon get their day, as well.”
The Hall’s Selection Committee comprises nine qualified and highly respected individuals – sports and hockey historians, hockey writers, broadcast journalists, and sports executives – each carefully chosen for their expertise, local hockey knowledge, integrity, objectivity and impartiality.
Tickets for the September 20th Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI are on sale now on the RI Hockey Hall of Fame website – www.RIHHOF.com.
For further information call 401-270-0035 or e-mail UNH1959@aol.com.
Top, the official R.I. Hockey Hall of Fame. Portrait of Louis A.R. Pieri is shown on the scoreboard over center ice during the unveiling ceremony. Below, the official portraits of Louis A.R. Pieri, Harvey Bennett, Sr., and Zellio Toppazzini as enshrined in the Hall.